Archive for August, 2012

This pine restraining chair dates to about c1810-1830. There are slots throughout the chair, on the back, on the wings, under the armrests and on the base which prevented the person seated from moving freely. There is a hole in the center of the seat and a shelf located under the seat to hold a chamber pot suggesting that a person would have been kept in the chair over long periods of time. It has a history of being used in York County, Maine.


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This week’s mystery object was used to lend a little comfort to long Puritan Sunday sermons. The Museums of Old York has two armrests in the collections.

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Last week’s mystery object was brought back to York from China by Louise Caroline (Wilcox) Putnam (1822-1894). Louise, the wife of Captain William E. Putnam (c1811-1868), traveled to China with her husband several times in the mid-19th century. The headrest was donated to the Museums of Old York by her great-niece, Dorothy Hungerford. The Museums of Old York owns and interprets the Emerson-Wilcox House, the home in which Louise was born and died. The house still contains many things Louise brought back from China. If you have the chance, come and visit us!

As uncomfortable as a wooden-framed rattan-covered pillow may seem, China also made headrests out of porcelain!

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