Bembe & Kimbel U.S. House of Representatives Chair

Bembe & Kimbel House of Representatives Chair

An example of an original Oak Bembe & Kimbel U.S. House of Representatives Chair bearing the maker’s stencil on the inner seat panel.

Bembe & Kimbel manufactured 131 of these chairs for the 1857 remodel of the House, overseen by Montgomery C. Meigs. The chairs were designed by the architect, Thomas Ustik Walter and his original design drawing for the chair can be seen below.

Thomas Ustik Walter House of Representatives Chair Design

This chair retains what appears to be the original leather chair back and one of the arm rest pads. The 4 casters are intact and are original. The chair has “XXXXXXII” carved into the underside of one of the armrests.

It is identical to the chair design that Abraham Lincoln used as his favorite portrait chair.  The silhouette of the chair can be seen in front of the window in this photo of the Lincoln bedroom in the White House.

An identical chair to this one is in the Lincoln Bedroom in the White House even today.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

lise bohm December 4, 2008 at 5:35 pm

I found a picture with Andrew Johnson picture with the chair:


RareVictorian December 4, 2008 at 6:13 pm

Thanks, Lise. Hadn’t seen that one yet.


monkecmonkedo January 20, 2009 at 11:09 pm

One of its brethren can be seen here:

It also has an interesting description that the chairs were too heavy for use and sold in 1859. Two photographers purchased some of the chairs and used them for seating in photographs, most notable one taken of President Lincoln in 1860.


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