World's Largest Rocking Chair
West Amana, Iowa
In the collection of towns functioning as the Amana Colonies, there is a proud tradition of traditional caned walnut rocking chairs. I walked in to Schanz Furniture looking forward to seeing the World's Largest Amana Style Rocking chair. Well, it wasn't there. But the maker was - he stopped to talk to me for a while, describing the process behind the construction and the attention to detail.
Made by Schanz Furniture as a promotional stunt, this remarkable rocker is a replica of the traditional Amana style rocker which has been around since 1854. The big version was hand-made by Norman Schanz and 3 other men in 1983, crafted to a scale exactly three times larger than the human-sized version. Even the caning that makes up the back web is exactly three times bigger, and hand-caned by 4 women.
This beautiful big behemoth required over 300 feet of lumber, and was completed in just one winter in the shops basement. Visitors to the big chair had a difficult time reaching the seat, so a scale-appropriate footstool was added so admirers can climb up for a seat.
Originally, the chair made its rounds to fairs and festivals, but as any World's Largest Thing owner knows, people will come from miles around to see an amazing thing. So, the chair stopped touring and is now displayed in its own building, letting the curious hoards come to take some very Edith-Anne type snapshots for their albums.
While there are a fair amount of World's Largest Chairs in an array of styles dotting the country, this is the only Amana Colony style rocker that's been super-sized. You can spot the unique scrolled arm rest immediately, making this a marvel of craftsmanship.
They have even produced their own World's Smallest Version, displayed right along with the regular, child, and doll-size traditional design.
World's Largest Rocker Stats
From the postcard:
Large Giant Walnut Rocker
Built in 1983 by Schanz Furniture, this solid walnut rocker is 11 feet tall and weight 670 lbs. Located at: Boom & Basket Shop 618 8th Ave., West Amana, IA 52203
From the sign by the chair:
Iowa's Largest Solid Walnut Rocker
Hrs To Build 75, Weight 670 lbs, 300 ft. of walnut, 104 Hrs. to Finish, 48 Hrs. to Cane, Est Cost $3000.00
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