85 Washington St
Summery: Furniture - Dealers in Pembroke, MA
In 1818, Lambert Hitchcock founded an innovative chair company in the northwestern hills of Connecticut, where he produced his beautiful hand stenciled furniture.
In 2006, the famed Hitchcock Chair Company closed its doors. For four years, the name lay dormant. Those who recognized its unique quality and craftsmanship were able to find fully restored Hitchcock furniture through Still River Antiques.
In the spring of 2010, Still River Furniture, LLC was founded with the purpose of continuing the Hitchcock legacy. They purchased the Hitchcock name, plans, and artwork.
The goal is to bring Hitchcock furniture into the 21st century while maintaining the quality and integrity of Lambert Hitchcock's original dream.
In 1818, when sawmills buzzed in Connecticut ’s river towns, a man named Lambert Hitchcock began to make chairs as no one ever had before. Back then, furniture was crafted one piece at a time. Hitchcock was a master woodworker, with a love of detail finessed by human hands. But he had seen what clock makers could do by machining many interchangeable parts. From them, he took his cue.
An Artist's Eye and a Clock Maker's Precision
From a sawmill and nearby wooden building at the fork of the Farmington and Still Rivers, Hitchcock began to mass produce chair parts from maple, birch and oak forested nearby. At the same time, he brought his craft to a new pinnacle, using stenciling techniques that glowed with a miniaturist ’s artistry. The finishes (notably a luminous black) were fresh and new. Seat backs were given original shapes, and arms and legs new twists. In this way, Hitchcock mass-produced 15,000 chairs a year — yet every one looked “made to order. ” (To this day, we strive for a custom look.)
By 1825, Hitchcock shared ownership in a general store in the hamlet where his sawmill and shop had become the economic heart, fondly named “Hitchcocks-ville ” by the villagers. In the same year, he built his large brick factory and established a chair signature — L. Hitchcock, Hitchcocks-ville, Conn. Warranted — the trademark that still appears on our furnishings as a guarantee of authenticity.
Furniture making process
After almost two centuries, Lambert Hitchcock ’s “fingerprints ” are still in the processes we use to make our furniture.
Of course, today we employ modern production techniques unavailable in the 1800s, allowing us to make furniture to custom specifications — and deliver it in about four weeks. But hand-craftsmanship is still in every hardwood turning, brushstroke, tightly woven seat and matched seam. The credit is owed to the expert artists and artisans in our manufactory. Some have been with us for more than 20 years, and all are trained in many furniture-making techniques.
Quality is their daily goal. It ’s the reason why we use preliminary hard maple and cherry, steam bending and drying it in kilns. It gives the softly curved arms, legs and backs of our furnishings a stronger “bone structure, ” allowing us to turn and shape them as one continuous piece. We use the age-old mortise and tenon method for joining drawers and the various parts of a bed, cabinet, chair or table.
The same exquisite care goes into ornamentation. Our artists use many overlays of brass stencils to hand-paint designs of great delicacy and detail. We still use some of Lambert Hitchcock ’s original designs, but we are continually creating new ones. (Our butterfly topiary stencil design for the Maison Rustique line is a new Hitchcock original.) Gilded striping, one of Hitchcock ’s signature effects, requires one particular quill brush supplied by an Austrian company. Nothing less will do to achieve a graceful, effortless brushstroke.
Hand-woven rush seats have been treasured by Hitchcock customers from the beginning. Ours are made only from the female leaf of the common cattail plant, Typha latifolia. The leaves are woven directly to the frame by weavers who hand-select, roll and join each strand. The tight weave, beauty and long life of our seats is a tribute to their skill.
How many steps go into the making of a Hitchcock piece? Thousands. Not the least of these are the many inspections we conduct throughout the furniture-making process. Because, in the final stage, it ’s your furniture. We want to be certain you ’ll enjoy every last detail for many years to come. Rating:
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