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The Shaker Way of Life

Shaker furniture history can be linked very much to the lifestyle practiced by the followers of the religious branch. The Shakers, so called because of a shaking ritual used to exorcise demons, are internationally renowned for creating highly purposive and now highly collectable furniture. They were extremely dedicated on the whole, and viewed their life as a service to God, living without modernization, and free from the outside world.

Their simplistic approach to life and their dedication to God meant a wholly celibate life, and to keep their hands and minds free from sin, they practiced manual skills, like carpentry. This led to a high degree of craft and dexterity, which they exploited for their own use, and for sale to members of the public.

The Shaker way of life also included a simple, modern approach to design, which is evident in their output. Shaker furniture is renowned primarily for its quality, and given that every piece was hand made, they really are quite impressive works.

Shaker Influences

The Shakers have had an immense impact on modern design, and this can be seen through the works of contemporary designers like Charles Rennie Macintosh, and his peers. The simplistic style of Shaker furniture and the wealth of Shaker furniture history make the style popular even in a modern context.

Although the furniture is now less common, and indeed with only four remaining Shakers, certainly dying out, it is a style that is very much in demand for its minimalist styling, and simple quality. This has given rise to an increasing number of manufacturers basing furniture around the Shaker designs, which are now mass produced and readily available.

Like the Shaker way of life, Shaker furniture history has been shaped by simplistic, minimalist living and by hard work and dedication. Additionally, it is heralded as design significantly ahead of its time, and has given rise to numerous copy-cat designers and manufacturers the world over. As far as Shaker original furniture goes, you aren’t likely to come across any unless you visit a museum, but the mass-produced furniture which takes inspiration from Shaker furniture history is founded on the same principles of design, and can allow an affordable alternative for modern design. Shaker furniture has a long and detailed history, and it is sure to live in on the memories of those who appreciate their furniture as essentially a work of art.


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