Perhaps the most unusual feature about this rocking bench, probably made in the Mid-Atlantic region around 1840, is the removable rail at the front of the seat. With the rail, the rocking bench doubled as a cradle. It allowed a mother to sit beside and safely rock her baby while her hands were free to continue working on a daily chore like sewing or preparing food. Without the rail, more than one adult could sit on the bench.
Originally painted, the bench was made in the Windsor style out of a variety of woods such as pine, poplar and hickory. Windsor chairs were popular utilitarian forms originally imported from England and then manufactured in America beginning around 1745. By the early 19th century, hundreds of Windsor chair manufacturers, particularly in New England and the Mid-Atlantic regions, had produced the countless numbers that survive today. Windsor chairs were used throughout the household in kitchens, dining rooms and parlors as well as outdoors.