Welcome to Liberty Chair Works!

For me, making a Windsor chair is part of an historical journey. My ancestors emigrated from Europe to Philadelphia in 1754. Interestingly the founding and growth of our nation and the development of the American Windsor chair encompass the same century, spanning the period from 1750 to 1850. Philadelphia was the center of the Windsor universe just as it was the center of the American experiment in Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The American Windsor style was greatly influenced by Thomas Gilpin, Francis Trumble and Joseph Henzey—all Philadelphia craftsmen. The First Continental Congress was held in Philadelphia’s Carpenter’s Hall in 1774. Purchase records indicate that Henzey built the Windsors used by these delegates. At the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, Windsors dominated the seating as depicted in the painting by Robert Edge Pine. Additional records indicate that Trumble made the Windsors used by the delegates of the 1787 Constitutional Convention, also held in the Pennsylvania State House.

I construct each chair in the 18th century tradition, using traditional tools and methods, concentrating on the details of each style. My chairs are historically accurate duplicates of the original styles from New York, New England and the Philadelphia area. Though the process is time consuming and exacting, it is necessary to produce handcrafted furniture that will become a family heirloom.

My research of 18th century furniture and my studies at Thaddeus Stevens College led me to an appreciation of craftsmen such as John Townsend, a furniture maker from Rhode Island. Now, in addition to Windsor chairs, I offer chests and 18th century furniture reproductions. One of my pieces is a reproduction of John Townsend’s “three-shell” block front chest: the original of which is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Liberty Chair Works
Rod Bankes, Chairmaker

32 Wood Farm Lane
North East, Maryland
610 470-4336