Chair for Musical Chairs
by Bob Brooke
chairs has always been a fun party game. The fact that it began with a
"musical chair" seems lost in obscurity. The Swiss and
Germans, known for their music boxes, found a novel way to insert one in
the seat of an elaborately decorated chair. A hostess placed the chair
among others in a circle. The game’s players walked around the circle
while the music from the chair’s music box played. Whoever sat on the
chair and stopped the music by engaging the switch that turned off the
music box, had to leave the game. The last person to remain won.
Craftsmen, producing the chairs from the 1880s
to the 1920s, used several kinds of wood, usually walnut plus some
exotic varieties for inlays. They usually didn’t sign their chairs.
Often, these chairs came in a set with an armchair and side chairs.
Today, the chair pictured here, owned by Sherrill and Barb Edwards of
West Grove, Pennsylvania, is priced at $2,100. Most, however, sell for
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