Executive Privilege: The Amazing True History of the Oval Office Chair
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The consummate executive chair reached apotheosis with the Oval Office chair designed and engineered for John F. Kennedy. As the President-elect prepared to move into the White House in 1961, his personal physician, Dr. Janet Travell, collaborated with designers and engineers from the Gunlocke factory to develop a chair that would allow Kennedy to work efficiently and effectively while decreasing fatigue and discomfort. She had treated him for chronic back pain and insisted on "ergonomic intervention" in the building of his working chair. For the President’s executive chair in the Oval Office, she insisted on a firmer version of the adjustable seats found in luxury cars and first-class airline cabins. The result was a design and technique of construction that combined anatomic, physiologic, and mechanical principles with aesthetics, reflecting executive style and grace inspired by Jacqueline Kennedy, whose redecoration returned a sense of timeless fashion to the Executive Mansion. The Gunlocke philosophy harks back to a bygone era in America, when the artist’s and the craftsman’s work formed a matrix in the community. From its humble beginnings in 1902, Gunlocke became one of the largest manufacturers of quality seating for schools, libraries, private and government offices, including the Oval Office of nine American Presidents. The major goal of this volume has been to provide historical context for examining one Gunlocke masterpiece in particular – the John F. Kennedy Oval Office Chair. The archetypal model produced for President Kennedy has never gone out of production at the original Gunlocke factory in upstate New York, and to this day its progressive design and meticulous craftsmanship remain unsurpassed for comfort, support, and refined expression. It has become the executive chair by which all others are compared, and the book makes a pretty good argument about why you should own one.
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