History of the Kennedy Rocker
President John F Kennedy acquired his first rocker in the year 1955 when he was Senator from Massachusetts from the P & P Chair Company of Asheville, North Carolina. He had used the rocker on the advice of his personal physician, Dr Janet Travell, who recommended what she called the “Carolina Rocker” for rocking chair therapy of his ailing back injured in the war.
When the newly elected president moved into the White House, he brought his Carolina Rocker with him. When photographed in the Oval Office using the rocker, the curiosity of the media and public was aroused and eventually P & P Chair was identified as the source.
President Kennedy purchased additional rockers for Camp David and the various Kennedy estates. He even had one on Air Force One. The president also gave away dozens of rockers as gifts to friends and heads of state. At the request of the White House, Kennedy Rockers were shipped to several hotels around the country and placed in their Presidential Suites.
The rocker used by President Kennedy is now on permanent display at the Kennedy Memorial in Boston, Massachusetts.
In the year 2009, when the owner of the P & P Chair Company was ready to retire, he sold the tooling and rights to continue producing the Kennedy Rocker to another very traditional North Carolina furniture maker, the Troutman Chair Company.
Therapeutic Benefits of the Kennedy Rocker
The rocker is roomy and comfortable, but perhaps even more importantly, its design is ideal for treating lower back pain. The chair’s seat height allows both feet to remain flat on the floor while rocking, and the front and back movement will continuously stretch and contract muscles in the lumbar. The design, developed in the late 1920′s, has a high cane back, cane seat and steam bent back posts that curve around the back. It is set low for comfortable elbow support and has wide armrests for perfect balance. Also, the arm rests are lower than similar rockers, allowing the sitter’s arm to relax naturally at the sides of the body. The rocker seat and back offer firmness and natural spring through the use of tightly woven Malaysian rattan. Finally, the cane seat and back give firm, yet flexible support. Dr. Travell had commented in the past that she liked the rocker chair because of the bent back post, which makes the cane back fit, the contour of a person’s back. She also liked the Carolina Rocker because the armrests are not too high and the detachable seat gives more support. Also the height of the seat is such that it creates no undue pressure on the user’s legs. The rocking motion is an aid to circulation and a reliever of tension.
About the Troutman Chair Company
Founded in the year 1924 in the foothills of North Carolina, the Troutman Chair Company is known for making the best oak rocking chairs, chairs, and stools. No glue is used in the construction process of swelled joint construction. Using the company’s own sawmill, Troutman chair is able to air dry the larger posts from six to nine months, while the smaller rounds are kiln dried. After assembly, the remaining moisture in the larger pieces is drawn into the drier, smaller pieces to make them swell while the larger pieces shrink for ever tightening joints. Interlocking joinery, a type of Lincoln-log construction, adds to joint tightness. Use of these two time-honored Shaker construction techniques allows the company to back all its rockers with a lifetime frame warranty.