Maker: Ross & Co.
The stencils to the underside of the seats of this pair of mahogany Balloon Back Chairs help to date them. The stencil, being wider than the seat frame sections has been put on both the front and back rails on both chairs in order that no information is missed. The top of the stencil noting, E. Ross, Camp Furniture Manufacturers, is on the top rail of the frame while 9, 10 & 11 Ellis Quay, Dublin is shown to the bottom section. E. Ross were at this address on Ellis Quay from not earlier than 1851 and changed their name to Ross & Co. in 1860. The method of assembling these chairs is typical of the company.
The back of the chair has long bolts extending from the bottom of the uprights to fit through holes to the back of the seat. The back legs screw onto these bolts and are fixed to their correct position with thumb bolts through brass plates to the legs. The front legs screw into the front of the chair frame with no need of thumb bolts to align them as they are turned. The numbers stamped to the legs are 27 and 28 to one chair and 30 and 31 to the other. The front and back legs are paired up to each side to share a number which is also stamped to the middle of the side rail to identify their correct positions. The backs are also stamped with corresponding numbers alongside the bolt, to ensure that the parts of different chairs are not mixed up.
It might seem odd for Ross to use such high numbers but they were probably making numerous chairs at once, which would then be split to make up separate sets. Added to this, if officers from the same regiment had similar chairs (which was possible as Ross were situated close to the largest barracks in Europe) it would save their confusion. Balloon Back chairs would have been very fashionable at the time, for an officer looking to impress and these have carved rails to the back and strongly turned front legs. Circa 1855.