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The History of our Shaker Furniture

Simplicity, purity, and utility have been the founding cornerstones of Shaker furniture, design, and living for nearly as long as America has been a nation. In 1774, Ann Lee arrived in New York with nine followers of a religious sect known as the "Wardleys." They settled near Albany, where they developed into a community completely dedicated to spiritual living. Because their rituals included shouting and trembling, the religion's followers became known as Shakers; thought to have been derived through combining the words "shaking" and "Quakers."
Country Shaker TableCountry Shaker Sofa Hall Table
1975 Shaker Inspired TableShaker Simplicity

The Shakers sought to apply harmony and order to every aspect of their daily life. As they put it, "Do your work as though you had a thousand years to live and as if you were to die tomorrow." Implying a work ethic devoted to simplicity, functionality, and longevity.

Shown here to the left is a long Shaker style table, that was referred to as our "Pine Sofa Hall Table" in our 1975 catalog. The sides folded down as many of our drop-leaf tables do today.


Expanding in 1979

The appreciation for our commitment to American traditions and workmanship became well known throughout the Northeast by the end of this decade, as did the expansion of our furniture collection. Pictured below is a large "Shaker Hutch" and Shaker style "End Table." You'll note its striking similarity to our current Country Shaker End Table.

Shaker Hutch & End Table

1993 Sturbridge Yankee Workshop Shaker Furniture

New Construction & Color in the 1990's

After moving from Sturbridge, Massachusetts to Portland, Maine in 1981, the company stayed true to the values and history garnered from the old Shaker Village's past.

Here we note the "Country Table" and "Country Coffee Table" with a mossy green base and stain top. The style of the furniture is more petite in size than previous models.


Shaker Ingenuity for over 60 Years

Pictured below is an assortment of Shaker style furniture we offered in our very first catalog in 1953. You'll note that when compared to the assortment in 2013,  the classically clean lines and simple functionality of the pieces has not changed very much at all. Here is an excerpt from pg. 5 of this catalog, describing "The Story Behind SYW Furniture:"

The worth of Sturbridge Yankee Workshop furniture can be measured from the spirit of craftsmanship which goes into each piece. The originals from which our pieces are copied stood the test of time because of that same craftsman’s spirit of accepting nothing but the best.

Strurbridge Yankee Workshop's Shaker Furniture is now handcrafted locally, here in Maine. The ability to form fine workmanship and quality materials into valuable pieces you will be pleased to have in your home or office, is a commitment all of us at SYW are proud to offer to our customers year after year.

1953 Sturbridge Yankee Workshop Shaker Furniture Assortment

Current Sturbridge Yankee Workshop Shaker Assortment