The History of Chair Caning

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PHOTO: GENE NAGLE
Marvin Garner, left, teaches Alyssa and Alex Pinkston, of Marietta, Georgia, the art of chair caning during an arts and crafts festival in Mableton, Georgia.

The interesting history of chair caning.

Cane work is a form of basketry that has been used in furniture design for hundreds of years. In fact, archeologists have discovered cane seating in ancient Egyptian tombs dating back to 1352 B.C.

The history of chair caning includes traditional cane bottom chairs that became popular in America during the Industrial Revolution, when chair frames were mass produced in factories and farmed-out to individuals in weaving communities. The seats were hand-woven until 1890, when a machine was developed to produce the cane mesh in sheets. At that point, the mesh was cut to size and glued into a groove along the edge of the frame.