The best things in web serendipity are unforeseen. That’s the only way it works.

It’s all because of rug shampooing.

Back in 2017 at the house in Arizona, I decided to get the old whitish carpet steam cleaned, actually paying someone to do it and not futzing with those rental ones. I piled the furniture from the rug area onto the tile in the kitchen.

I happened to be sitting there, and noticed the bottom of an old rocking chair that was sitting on top, on its side. I had actually never seen the bottom of it.

This chair has a story, and may induce tears, but it belonged to my older brother who is long gone.

David's Chair
David’s Chair flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)

What happened was…

I made out the lettering to indicate the chair was a Temple Stuart model; the code numbers on it never cracked, but I went down a bit of fun rabbit hole learning about the history of the company, its founder, and even some less inspiring stuff about an EPA violation. I even stumbled into a curious resource, a real furniture library.

And David’s chair is of the not so fashionable genre of “American Brown Furniture.”

The interesting things happened in the comments. These came not from the large number (like 8) of my regular readers, but people who have searched the web for “temple stuart furniture.”

Even in an incognito browser window, my blog post shows up 6th in Google. That’s weird.

Google image search results for Temple Stuart Furniture Find my chair!

So here is a lesson. Don’t blog about common stuff or what other people. Blog about weird obscure things.

But back to the comments on Secrets from Beneath a Chair. It starts with a nice one from Sandy Jensen Brown and also my sister. I know them. But then Rex shares a commons memory of a similar chair. That’s not so odd.

This one was rather wild, from Liana:

I currently live in the old Stuart family home! I was looking for furniture of theirs to put in the house and came across your post# thought I would share!

Woah, Liana lives in the Stuart family home, but does not have any of their furniture? I’d like to know more about that.

Now the shift happens. It’s March of this year, 3 years after the post, and Glenda opens up the store:

I’m a lot late, but are you still looking for Temple-Stuart furniture? I have 2 chairs that I would sell, they are beat up: surviving my brother and I for the 60’s and 70’s. Hope to hear from you!

Well, no. I don’t want to buy more furniture, I just want to know about the chair I have.

Kathleen has a Temple Stuart sink cabinet she wants to sell. And next, Rosemary is offering a dining set and a hutch.

But then it gets back on course. Al has a similar chair to mine but with different numbers.

I am currently restoring an old rocking chair that was my great grandmothers, to give to my father. It is the exact chair you have in the picture, on the bottom of the chair it is marked 943-R Maple. So I am searching to find out a little more about the chairs history.

Anyhow, it’s all very curious how people you do not know can find my story in the big pile of stuff that is the internet, and we can have a virtual flea market of American Brown Furniture.

The web is a dish best served weird. And unexpected.

Update March 27, 2021

The comments keep coming in and as Mom would say , “this blows me away!” Especially notice is one from Sam Stuart, a great grandson of the founder.

But wait, there is more. Now more than 4 years after the original post, Prudence shares more of a local connection:

I grew up in Baldwinville and knew most of the Stuarts. The factory employed many local people and so sad that it is gone. When I was young the local relationship to the factory was informal. On several occasions my mother would have a table that needed refinishing. She would call one particular person who would stop by our house, load up the shabby antique and take it to the factory. It would come back with a new factory finish.

And just this week, Nick shares the codes written beneath a rocking chair that is similar to mine… well David’s.

David’s chair is now again in my home, having traveled in a Uhaul Box from Arizona to home now in southern Saskatchewan, Canada. It has traveled from Baltimore to Mom’s home in Florida, then in my truck to Arizona after she passed away, and now home again.

2021/365/47 They Arrived!
2021/365/47 They Arrived! flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)

Sharp eyes will note Cori’s cactus behind the chair. And that’s my grandmothers Singer sewing machine, which just might launch whole new story.

Thank you, internet.

Update September 2, 2021

My original post on the rocking chair gets regular comments from people looking for information about (or wanting to sell) Temple Stuart furniture. I even heard from one of the descendents of the company’s founder. Today’s comment from Krystle explains the name and numbers found on the bottom of the chair that started this whole thing– it’s simply a model number 948 R Duxbury is just an inventory thing.

The interesting thing is doing a search on 948 R Duxbury brings up my photo in the photos and the second search result is my blog post.

Search on 948 R Duxbury hits my blog post (and photo) high in the rankings (I think I had “943” in the post). Smells like SEO!

The first result and the other photos are the same chair as mine, such as this one listed for sale in Minnesota. This ain’t no Antique Road Show treasure, the selling price is $25. The value for me?

Much more.


Featured Image: Pixabay photo by modi74 licensed by Pixabay’s weird CC0-ish license

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

Comments

  1. Very cool to see the story of the chair come back around. “Weird” and “unexpected”; that’s the www for me!
    Thanks for this return down a forgotten rabbit hole…

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