Vintage Porch Swings: American Collectibles

30 comments:
 This post is about simple things that have an interesting history 
and can only be found in America....
in honor of the 4th of July 
and the spirit of our history!

 I came across these very old and beautifully painted porch swings 
via a dealer in Maine

Most of the things I have bought in the past were small and pretty insignificant....but when I saw these,
 I knew right away they were special

They are painted this amazing shade of aqua and have a bright pumpkin paint on the arched tops of the seats 
and the cross bar that supports the arms.

The paint appears to be original and other than a good scrubbing and a light coat of wax, I left them as is!

 As I was cleaning them up I noticed a brass lable on the rear of one of the seats:

It says:


MADE BY
PARIS MANUFACTURING
PARIS, ME  USA

So here is the story behind Paris Manufacturing:

 Joan Palicia’s Flexible Flyer and other Great Sleds for Collectors, contains the following information about the Paris Manufacturing Company which operated between 1862 and 1989: “The Paris Manufacturing Company had modest beginnings.  In 1861 a man named Henry Franklin Morton, starting with a hobby, began what would become the largest and longest operating sled company in American history…Early on he was plagued with a serious eye condition…Living in West Sumner, Maine with his wife Lucilla in 1861, he started making rakes and non-steerable sleds as a hobby to make extra money.  He assembled fifty sleds that his wife Lucilla hand painted in the family kitchen and they were successful in selling them.  The following year, Mr. Morton formed a stock company and hired four employees….he was invited to move his company to Paris Hill where he set up production under the name of Paris Hill Manufacturing Company.  As business grew, so did the line of products.  Go-carts, wagons, wheelbarrows, step ladders, ironing boards, children’s desks, furniture and more were added to keep the factory running all year long.”  Eventually the company moved to South Paris, Maine, to be closer to the local railroad freight depot and was renamed the Paris Manufacturing Company.

So...these swings probably date from the 1920's or 30's 
but maybe even earlier.
I read a few more articles related to Paris Manufacturing and the sleds are highly sought after by serious Folk Art collectors....keep your eyes open if you ever see one!


It took us about 4 trips to the hardware store to finally get these to hang right and swing correctly...but they are so fun to sit on!

By the way the dealer told me that in 30 years of buying and selling stuff from all over Maine...he has never come across a pair of swings quite this pretty and in such good shape,
which was another reason I had to buy them...



 The porch is all decked out in 
Red White and Blue...

 I feel very lucky to have a set of 
Henry Mortons swings 
to sit on this year!



Have a wonderful, 
fun and happy 4th of July!

Kelley
30 comments:
  1. Absolutely I love them. Such a conversation piece and a treasure! Happy 4th!

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  2. FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC!! So unique and love the color!

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  3. Thank you for the comments...how old do you think they are?

    Would love to hear your thought on this!!!!

    best, Kelley

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  4. they are so cute, and unique. definitely keepers...

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  5. Very pretty and unusual. Love the paint color and the red white and blue you used.

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  6. I've never seen anything like those. Amazing find.

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  7. Those are GORGEOUS, and I have never ever seen anything like them! What a wonderful thing to find. Love them...have no idea about how old they are. And the pillows look perfect on them. Happy 4th of July!

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  8. Ok, those are just too darned cool, and I love the color! Thanks for telling us more about the company that produced them, and I hope you have a very Happy 4th of July!

    Kat

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  9. ahhh, so very Americana! I imagined gentler times when I saw your beautiful porch swings, I hope you and husband will be able to swing together for many, many years to come!

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  10. Your porch looks beautiful. I love that you were able to find out the history of these beautiful swings. It makes them even more of a treasure. Have a lovely holiday.
    Best...Victoria

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  11. just love em! and your house/porch looks so cute for the 4th!!
    i can't wait to get back to the "cottage style" decor with our farm and decorate cottage style again...oh, also LOVE those pillows, and the way you hung the flags like curtains

    ....we just got a contract yesterday, and are moving out to the farm in August....uggghhh, dread the moving, but looking forward , as we always do, to another project.....
    have a happy 4th Kelley!

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  12. i sounded a lil redundant above....typing before the java sinks in this early morning, LOL :)

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  13. They look wonderful on your porch. I love the color. They look as though they may have been part of an old garden glider. The sort where two seats face one another while supported by a large frame. Nice find!

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  14. Those are incredible porch swings. I think I would sit on the the porch all day and just swing and swing!! Those pillows are incredible as well

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  15. Love the swings and loved the post. We have a particular fondness for Paris, Maine. Have you ever been? Our neighbor and good friend is from Paris (I am forwarding this to him). We bought some of our finest antiques from a dealer in Paris...and I am the proud owner of one of the sleds! If I were guessing I would think those date to the 40's...just a guess...since I can't see the construction! What a great find!

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  16. Kelley, those swings are gorgeous and they look so inviting on your beautiful porch. What a great find!

    I have a question however...does the brass tag say "ME" for the abbreviation of Maine or does it say "Maine"? If it says ME, the swings are likely from after 1963 since that is when the two letter abbreviations started being used for states. In any case, they are truly gorgeous!!

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  17. I wouldn't care how old they are...they are gorgeous! I would be happy knowing the are old, great condition and look awesome on your porch.

    That is a great find! Enjoy them!

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  18. Thank you all for stopping by. The tag on the back actually does us the two letter abbreviation for Maine. I would love to think they are older than that but perhaps not. The company was in business until 1989 so they could be from the 60's. The paint is really wonderful and very in keeping with older paint but I'm Ok with any age actually!

    It cracks me up to see my husband out here talking on his cell phone to business associates while he is swinging...toooooo funny!


    Happy 4th to all my wonderful friends...luv you all!

    best, Kelley

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  19. Kelley what a perfect addition to your porch, Happy 4th to YOU and yours,
    ***Kathysue***

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  20. I am from Maine and I would agree with the theory of ME being from the 1960's. I have passed on my
    Dad's 1920's Paris sled to my daughter. It is so fun knowing that she is the third generation to own and enjoy sliding on that sled. One thing to look for is rounded runners on the sleds the metal actually was curved up on the edges of the runners and was much faster than the flat runners! Some Maine trivia for you. You also might contact the Maine Museum in Augusta, Maine they might be able to help you date the swings. I love them and they do remind me of a simpler time back in my home state. Have a wonderful 4th of July and may we all take a moment to remember those that have given so much for us to enjoy this holiday.

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  21. You have a rare pair, whatever the date. I had a great old porch swing that my 'oh, so cautious husband wouldn't let me rehang. I'm glad your went along with 'the program'! I love your swings...
    Happy Birthday, America!
    xoxo, Chris

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  22. What a amazing find... I love the colors... they belong there right on that porch~~
    Bristol

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  23. Woooo - When I first saw the picture I thought very cool and unique! When I read that you got them in Maine, I thought "ahh the way life should be!" but when I heard they were from Paris, Maine - I said - "hey I lived there!" Well I lived next door in "Norway" ME. I was there from 94-97ish and Norway was the "big town" in the area - large enough to have all the groceries stores and gas stations and very excitingly a new wal-mart at the time; but still a small enough town to not have a movie theater!! I worked for the local newspaper and then for a local printer. Paris Manufacturing was/is still well-known at the time and in fact - extras,samples, factory-seconds etc could be easily stumbled upon in the area. I guess if I could have seen into the future of Ebay I should have bought them up!
    There are bunch of towns in the area named after European cities/countries and famously there is a crossroads with an old-fashioned sign post listing all the cities and distances. It is all very humorous in a "Maine yankees quietly laughing at tourists who stop to pose for pictures kinda way!"

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  24. I love when something is unique and has a history. They look great on your porch.

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  25. Oh my gosh!!! Those are perfection!! I am a firm believer in swinging on the porch and these are amazing - the color (I am an aqua girl!!) and the history!! what an amazing find. I know you will enjoy those every single day! Marcie

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  26. A very happy 4th to all!

    I too think a great porch swing is just amazing. I sat there today with my son and we talked about his life, future etc.

    So there you have it...who ever sat in these before us loved them and we love them too.

    small simple things can sometimes be really wonderful..yes indeed

    kelley

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  27. I'm from NB Canada right on the Maine border, and this area is an antiquers heaven!!!! Those difently look to be 30's or 40's in any event they are amazing!! Love your blog!!!

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  28. This is so cool. I am such a huge fan of something unique work. I really am impressed with how much you have worked to make your porch so enjoyable.

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  29. The story behind the pair of swings hanging on your porch is quite interesting. I bet, if an art collector sees them, he would probably get on his knees to have those. You are lucky to have found a treasure like that, and it’s even nicer that you put on a pillow clothed in Red, White, and Blue on it! You’re a true patriot!

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