Antique rocking chairs are timeless and beautiful pieces of furniture that can bring a touch of elegance and nostalgia to your home. With intricate designs, sturdy construction, and unique history, antique rocking chairs can be a great way to add character to a room.

Do you want to know how to identify antique rocking chairs?

This guide will provide the necessary information to help you identify an antique rocking chair. We will discuss various methods that can be used to determine the age of a chair and assess its authenticity. 

Additionally, we will discuss how to evaluate the piece’s condition and identify any relevant features that may indicate its age. 

How to Identify Antique Rocking Chairs – A Simple Guide

How to Identify Antique Rocking Chairs

Credit: LoveToKnow

Here are the ways to identify antique rocking chairs

1. Examine the Materials 

The materials used in a project can significantly impact the overall outcome. To guarantee their suitability and quality, it is imperative to evaluate the materials thoroughly.

Looking closely at the materials could involve checking for blemishes, color, texture, and durability. It could also include looking at the materials’ cost, availability, and suitability for the job. 

It could also involve researching the materials to ensure they are safe and abide by relevant regulations. The ultimate objective is identifying the most suitable materials to achieve the desired outcomes.

2. Check the Joints 

When evaluating an antique rocking chair, assessing the condition of the joints is of utmost importance. Joints are the points where two pieces of wood come together and form an angle, creating the chair’s framework. 

High-quality joints should be solid and stable without any weakness or movement. The joints should have a consistent finish and show no signs of glue seepage or chipping. 

Additionally, the joints must be firmly fastened and seamless, without any spaces between the timber sections. If there are any signs of wear or damage, likely, the chair is not an antique.

3. Inspect the Spindles 

When trying to identify an antique rocking chair, it is crucial to inspect the spindles. Spindles are the chair’s vertical parts that support the occupant’s weight. 

Most antique rocking chairs have spindles hand-turned or carved from wood. Check for asymmetrical spindles with wood finishing. If the spindles are made from metal, they should have a patina or a warm, aged look. Inspect the spindles closely to determine their age and authenticity. 

The spindles must be firmly affixed to the seat and back, and the connections must be tightly sealed. The rocking chair may not be an antique if the spindles are loose or the joints are weak.

4. Look at the Arms 

Examining the arms of antique rocking chairs is an essential part of determining their age. The arms of a chair can provide clues as to the age, style, and even the chair’s maker. The most common types of arms found on antique rocking chairs are slat arms, curved arms, and spindle arms. 

Slat arms have flat, horizontal pieces of wood or metal that run along the side of the chair. Curved arms are often made of carved wood with a smooth, curved shape. A spindle arm rocker consists of vertical pieces of wood or metal connected by a horizontal piece of wood. 

These arms often have a decorative shape. Other details on the arms of the antique rocker include wood grain, carving or inlay, and the type of hardware used. These clues can help in identifying an antique rocking chair.

5. Consider the Carvings 

Carvings can be a great indicator of an antique rocking chair’s age. Look for intricate designs, such as floral patterns or symbols. The more complex carvings, the more likely the rocking chair is antique. 

Additionally, the type of wood used for the carvings should be considered. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, walnut, mahogany, and oak were favored, whereas more contemporary chairs may have carvings crafted from pine or poplar.

6. Evaluate the Upholstery 

When evaluating the upholstery on an antique rocking chair, look for signs of age and wear, such as discoloring, fading, tears, or fraying. If it is an original textile, it should possess a distinctive pattern or motif. If the upholstery has been replaced, it might not be an antique rocking chair. 

Additionally, check for the type of material used; often, antique rocking chairs have upholstery made from velvet, silk, or needlepoint. Pay special attention to the nails and tacks used to secure the upholstery to the frame; these should be consistent with the age of the chair.

7. Inspect the Rockers 

When inspecting the rockers of an antique rocking chair, it is crucial to look for clues that may indicate its age and authenticity. Firstly, it is necessary to inspect the rockers for signs of deterioration.

If the rockers of the antique chair are made of wood, you should look for cracks, splits, or discoloration. If the rockers are metal, look for rust or discoloration. Additionally, look at the joinery of the rockers to the chair to check for flaws on the rocker. 

Also, look for markings or stamps indicating the maker or designer. Finally, examine the shape of the rockers. If the rockers are curved, it may signify a more modern piece, whereas flat rockers may indicate an older antique piece.

8. Analyze the Finishing

When looking to identify an antique rocking chair, analyzing the finishing of the piece can be a good starting point. The finishing can help determine the chair’s age and the time era. 

Examine the color, style, and condition of the finish. If the finish appears painted, it may be from a later era, while an older rocking chair may have a more natural-looking finish. Observe indications of aging, such as discoloration, cracking, or chipping, which may suggest the chair is of advanced age.

Also, look at the hardware on the chair, such as screws, nails, and handles, to determine the age.

9. Look for Stamps or Labels

One of the most critical steps when researching antique rocking chairs is looking for stamps or labels. The location of the chair’s identifiers can be found on the back, the underside of the seat, or the rockers.

Stamps or labels often include the name of the maker of the antique. Other details you may find are the retailer’s name, the chair’s age, or the type of wood used in the construction. This can be incredibly helpful in identifying the age and origin of a specific rocking chair. 

Additionally, looking for any identifying marks, such as a manufacturer’s logo or hand-carved initials, can be beneficial. Examining the construction and style of the chair can also help determine its age.

 10. Research the Maker

When identifying an antique rocking chair, the first step is to research the maker. You can do this using various resources, including auction records, antique furniture guides, and online resources. 

Knowing the maker can help determine the age and style of the chair, as well as its value. It can also help you understand the history of the chair and its maker. Researching the maker is the best way to identify an antique rocking chair.


From looking at the construction materials to researching the piece’s history, this guide will help you determine whether or not a particular rocking chair is an authentic antique. So let’s look closer at how to identify antique rocking chairs!

When appraising antique rocking chairs, it is essential to remember that no single approach applies to all. However, following the tips outlined in this guide, you can confidently identify any specific antique rocking chair.