Historical information

Heywood & Wakefield Furniture Co: The Heywood-Wakefield Company is an American furniture manufacturer established in 1897 that went on to become a major presence in the US. Its older products are considered collectibles and have been featured on television antique programs. The Heywood brothers established themselves in 1826, as furniture makers and the Wakefield Company began in 1855 as a separate company. Both firms produced wicker and rattan furniture, and as these products became increasingly popular towards the end of the century, they became serious rivals. In 1897 the companies merged as Heywood Brothers & Wakefield Company (this name was changed to Heywood-Wakefield Company in 1921), purchasing Washburn-Heywood Chair Company in 1916, Oregon Chair Company in 1920, and Lloyd Manufacturing Company in 1921. While its wooden furniture plant in Gardner, Massachusetts closed in 1979, a branch in Menominee, Michigan continued to manufacture metal outdoor seats, auditorium seats, and school furniture. The Heywood-Wakefield Company Complex in Gardner was added to the National Historic Register in 1983. The South Beach Furniture Company acquired the rights to the name in 1994 and reproduces its wooden furniture. Both founding companies produced wicker and rattan furniture in the late 19th century.  The wicker styles drew on the Aesthetic Movement and Japanese influences simpler designs arose in the wake of the Arts and Crafts Movement. The merged entity stayed abreast of wicker furniture trends by hiring designers such as Paul Frankl and Donald Deskey during the 1920s. Its furniture was exhibited at the 1933 Century of Progress exhibition and the 1964 New York World's Fair. During the 1930s and 1940s, Heywood-Wakefield began producing furniture using sleek designs based on French Art Deco.


The chair has social significance at a local level, because it illustrates the level of material support the Warrnambool community gave to Flagstaff Hill when the village and Museum was established. The wicker nursing chair is a fine example of late 19th century light weight domestic furniture that today are very collectible items and quite rare and valuable.

Physical description

Nurse wicker chair of wood, cane and rattan with round rushed seat, the one left arm being that to support the infant during feeding. 1870's-1890's believed to have been made by Heywood Brothers & Wakefield Company, USA.

Inscriptions & markings