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by Craig Blake
Few furniture items are as rambunctious and yet comforting as rocking chairs. Whether related to folks rocking on their porches on outdoor rocking chairs with a cup of coffee or youngsters rocking back and forth for the thrill, rocking chairs are enjoyable for people of every age. In the grand scheme of things, rocking chairs are a fairly modern invention. In a short period of time, rocking chairs have become a fixture in living rooms, lounges, patios and more. Still, here are a few things you might not know about rocking chairs.
Origin: No one knows who invented the first rocking chair, but some stories attribute their invention to Benjamin Franklin, who also invented bifocals, the odometer, furnace stoves and lightning rods. However, no historical evidence has materialized to prove this claim. The only thing that is certain is that rocking chairs originated in North America during the early 18th century.
Benefits: Many people enjoy rocking chairs because of the soothing back and forth motion they provide. It isn't uncommon to think of rocking chairs in connection with a mother calming a baby or someone nodding off. However, the curved rockers also lean the sitter into his or her center of gravity. This takes undue stress off key points in the spine. Rocking chairs are ergonomically beneficial.
Uses: The earliest rocking chairs were used mostly in gardens, which might explain their quick outdoor migration to become the trademark porch furniture of North America. At the end of the 18th century, rocking chairs were the most popular type of porch furniture. It wasn't long until rocking chairs invaded the living room. Now rocking chairs are a piece of legitimate furniture for nearly every room in the home.
Recent development: From their humble beginnings as normal chairs with rockers strapped to the legs, rocking chairs now come in a variety of shapes and designs. From the antique rocking chair to the glider rocking chair, people are inventing new models every year. Some doctors are even developing the ergonomic design of rocking chairs to be used for post-operation therapy. For over 300 years, rocking chairs have remained on the cutting edge of furniture.