Historic Chilton Furniture, Tappan Chairs and the Sabbathday Lake Shakers Announce Exclusive Partnership

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Chilton Furniture is partnering with Tappan Chairs of Sandwich, New Hampshire and the Sabbathday Lake Shakers in New Gloucester, Maine to produce two iconic Shaker chairs from the mid-19th century.

Left to right: Michael Graham, director, United Society of Shakers; Brother Arnold Hadd (seated in the Alfred side chair prototype); Nate Gobeil, Chilton Furniture; Adam Nudd-Homeyer, Tappan Chairs.

It represents a blending of New England's enduring traditions and spotlights the human elements of craftsmanship, beauty, and design, while celebrating Maine's Shaker legacy and promoting the Shaker life at Sabbathday Lake.

Chilton Furniture is partnering with Tappan Chairs of Sandwich, New Hampshire and the Sabbathday Lake Shakers in New Gloucester, Maine to produce two iconic Shaker chairs from the mid-19th century. Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village was established in 1783, and Tappan Chairs and Chilton Furniture both have roots dating back more than a century. All three institutions share a reverence for traditional furniture-making techniques.

“The Shakers have always stood for quality,” said Brother Arnold Hadd. “We feel that Chilton Furniture and Tappan Chairs hold the same high standards. We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with people who share our ideals.”

This partnership is unique in the history of Shaker furniture as this is the first time that the Shakers in Maine have collaborated with an outside manufacturer to produce one of their iconic chairs. The originals—a side chair and rocking chair, both with tall, bent ladder-backs—were crafted in the Alfred, Maine Shaker Village, between 1830 and 1850. (Alfred Shakers merged with those at Sabbathday Lake in 1931.)

“This partnership is historically valuable,” said Michael Graham, director, United Society of Shakers. “It represents a blending of New England’s enduring traditions and spotlights the human elements of craftsmanship, beauty, and design, while celebrating Maine’s Shaker legacy and promoting the Shaker life at Sabbathday Lake.”

“The Shakers took chair design to its ultimate expression,” said Jennifer Levin, owner of Chilton Furniture. “It’s an aesthetic that has never really gone out of style, informing so many design movements since. This collaboration allows people to own a modern-day Shaker original; it’s as close to going back in time as you can get.”

The chairs are on display at Chilton Furniture in Scarborough and Freeport, Maine and in the Shaker Museum Visitors’ Center. The chairs can also be viewed on Chilton’s website (http://www.chiltons.com/alfred-village-shaker-chairs) and will be coming soon to the Shaker Village website (http://www.maineshakers.com). Tappan will produce a limit of up to 250 chairs this year, divided between the Alfred and Tappan Chairs lines. Each chair will be individually numbered and branded with the Shaker Society emblem. A portion of all proceeds from sales of the Chilton-Shaker chairs will be donated to the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Museum.

About Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village: Founded in 1783, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village is the world’s only active community of Shakers, the oldest religious community in the United States, and a National Historic Landmark. Shaker Village is a working farm and a living history museum, open Memorial Day through Columbus Day. Learn more at http://www.maineshakers.com.

About Tappan Chairs: The latest in a nearly 200-year dynasty of stewards, Adam Nudd-Homeyer has taken on the mantel of Tappan Chairmaker for the 21st century. Immersing himself in the study of these singular chairs, he has returned models into modern production that have not been crafted in more than a century. Tappan Chairs beguile with their contemporary appeal and at the same time voice the soul of the past from every post—posts that are still turned on the same 19th century machinery that turned their ancestors at the hands of the Tappan family.

About Chilton Furniture: Chilton traces its Maine roots back to the nineteenth century. Today the company is known for fine, hand-crafted wood furniture, with an emphasis on Shaker and Shaker-inspired cherry designs. All furniture is made in America, much of it in Maine. Chilton’s showrooms are located in Freeport and Scarborough, Maine and products can be viewed online at http://www.chiltons.com.

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Linda Varrell
Broadreach Public Relations
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