Figuring out how old a rocking chair is can be helpful for collectors, antique enthusiasts, and anyone curious about its history. 

So, what are the different ways to know how old a rocking chair is? Come along, and let’s learn how to tell the age of a rocking chair.

How to Tell the Age of a Rocking Chair?

How to Tell the Age of a Rocking Chair

Below is how to tell the age of a rocking chair

1. Identifying the Type of Rocking Chair 

The first thing you do is figure out the type of chair you are looking at. Many types of rocking chairs have been made throughout history, and each type has unique characteristics that can help identify its age. 

Some of the typical antique rocking chairs in the marketplace include Windsor, slat-back, and spindle-back rocking chairs. 

Additionally, some rocking chairs may be part of a set or may have been custom-made, which can help to determine their age. Knowing the type of rocking chair is the first step in determining its age.

2. Inspecting the Construction Materials 

One of the steps to take is to inspect the construction materials. Wood, metal, and upholstery will all provide clues. Examine the style of the joinery, the type of hardware, and the overall condition of the materials. 

Look at the type of Wood used, as certain species have been used in specific periods. Any metal hardware used may be stamped or have a maker’s mark. If upholstery is present, look at the style of the fabric and any trim used. These clues can help determine the age of the rocking chair.

3. Examining the Upholstery 

Check the upholstery for any signs of damage or wear. Check to see if any fabric is fraying, torn, or discolored. 

It’s also essential to look for any stains or water damage. Pay attention to the buttons and tufts, as they can indicate the quality of the upholstery. 

Check the cushion for any signs of wear – this is where the most damage to upholstery usually is. Lastly, check the furniture frame to ensure it is still sturdy and free of significant damage.

4. Looking at the Hardware 

The hardware on a rocking chair can be a great indicator of its age. Look for ornate hinges, bolts, and screws used in the past. Some of these hardware pieces may be engraved with a date or maker’s mark that provides a clue to the age of the chair. 

Worn and tarnished pieces are a good indication of the chair’s age. Additionally, certain hardware styles were used in specific periods, so looking at the hardware can provide an approximate age for the rocking chair.

5. Analyzing the Style

The style of a rocking chair can provide clues as to its age. Older rocking chairs may have a more straightforward design with fewer details. Using natural materials like Wood and leather, along with hand-crafted details, can be a sign of an antique chair. 

Chairs from the late 1800s and early 1900s often have a curved back, and the Wood is usually carved with decorative details. Modern rocking chairs usually have a more minimalist design, with curved lines and clean shapes. 

They may also have metal elements, such as an aluminum frame or plastic accents. This could help you figure out roughly how old the chair is.

6. Examining the Finish 

Examining the finish is one of the most reliable ways to tell the age of a rocking chair. Generally, older rocking chairs tend to have a hand-rubbed finish that is shinier and smoother than more modern pieces. 

The finish has likely been applied repeatedly over the years, giving it a deep and even sheen. Additionally, a hand-rubbed finish will often have subtle variations in color, particularly near the edges and around the joints. 

Some older pieces may also have a wax or oil finish, which their soft, slightly greasy feel can identify. Paying attention to the finish of a rocking chair can give some insight into its age and history.

7. Inspecting the Joints 

When trying to tell the age of a rocking chair, one of the primary indicators is inspecting the joints. Check the arms and back to see if they are connected with pegs or screws. If the joints are held together with pegs, the rocking chair is older, as pegs were the primary method of assembly before the introduction of screws. 

Additionally, examine the joints for any visible signs of wear. If the joints look worn, this could indicate that the rocking chair is more than a few decades old. 

Furthermore, look at the Wood used to construct the rocking chair. Different woods were used for different eras. This can help provide further clues into the age of the chair.

8. Checking for Manufacturer Marks 

Manufacturer marks can be a great way to tell the age of a rocking chair. Usually, they’re on the bottom of the seat or the back of the chair. Some marks may also be stamped on the spindles or legs. 

Tracking down the markings on a chair can be tricky but worth it. Knowing when it was made, who by, and where can be super helpful in figuring out its age. So take some time to check it out!

9. Comparing to Similar Pieces 

Comparing pieces of furniture to similar pieces can help to determine how old a rocking chair is. Check out similar pieces from a specific era, like Victorian or Arts and Crafts. 

Look at the materials and construction methods – the type of Wood, joinery, and finish. Compare the design of the rocking chair – like the type of arms and legs, seat shape, and Wood. These details help you discover the age of the chair.

10. Consulting an Expert

Want to know the age of a rocking chair, ask an expert. An expert in antiques or furniture can examine the construction techniques, materials, and other details to date the piece accurately. 

An experienced appraiser can also evaluate the chair’s condition and value. Additionally, an expert can provide information about the chair’s history or any previous owners. This knowledge can be invaluable to the owner in understanding the piece’s significance. Finally, having an expert evaluate the chair can help to ensure that any future restoration is done concerning the age and historical integrity of the piece.


The above-listed ten points are just a few ways to tell the age of a rocking chair. If your rocking chair is an antique, taking good care of it and preserving its history is essential. With some research, you can learn how old your chair is and appreciate its unique value. 

Look for clues such as the type of Wood, style, construction, and hardware used. If you cannot determine the rocking chair’s age, consider getting an expert’s opinion. With even a basic knowledge of rocking chairs and their history, you will be well on your way to identifying the age of your rocker.