A pint and a chair... Interesting history of how the chairs were made.

A pint and a chair... Interesting history of how the chairs were made.

Thomas Glenister had an interesting way of having his chairs made for him, it turned out if you couldn't afford your pints, you made a chair.

It seems these chairs had various designs to suit different circumstances. Most notably, this one has a sprung loaded reclining back rest, (where most, if you can find them, are fixed backs), which could be adjusted for tension for reclining. 

Plus, the back rest has a height adjustment (from approx. 62cm - 71cm), by means of a cast iron wheel on the rear. By spinning the chair around anti-clockwise or clockwise, this would allow you to adjust the height to suit each operator. The back rest has a light early vinyl type material, and you can feel, what seems like horse hair underneath.

The main base has a solid cast iron mounting bracket at the top, with a red finish to the surface, where the splayed legs are attached. Leading down to four individual quarter circle foot rests, which are supported by a solid round metal ring towards the front edge, giving greater support underneath the foot rests. Below this, is a secondary cross stretchers for addition support. Difficult to say for sure if this part, was an addition at some point in the chairs life, or the original design.

The chair is constructed with two types of wood, a deep reddish brown timber (possibly pitch pine) and then a beech wood for the seat, back rest and cross stretchers. Either way the contrasting combination works very nicely together. There has been some minor restoration, which is somewhat expected during the chairs commercial life, however this adds to the great patination across the timber.

Take a closer look and you will see the 'Glenister Maker Wycombe' stamped in a square block to the back of the seat on one side, on the other the registration number (614645), and on the piece of timber that holds the pivoting bolt in place for the vertical back rest bar on the right, you have the initials J.J.M. presumably the person who built this chair. How cool is that!

Thomas Glenister was a Publican in Wycombe, or High Wycombe as it's also known. It was also known, that if a customer could not pay his drinks tabs, he would ask them to settle their tab by making chairs for him. It was also noted that he made coronation chairs for Edward VII. Thomas Glenister also became mayor of High Wycombe between 1889-1891.

The provenance of this chair was interesting, as it came from someone who was in the Navy at Portsmouth dock yard, can't get better than that.

Truly great value piece of history with a nice provenance. 


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