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The year is 1865. Presidents have entertained many guests in the White House over the years, but probably none as colorful as California trapper, Indian Fighter, musician, and chair maker, Seth Kinman. Presidents James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, and Rutherford B. Hayes were each honored with one of Kinsman’s unique chairs made of elkhorns and grizzly bear skins.
This September 1865 photograph by Matthew Brady, shows Seth Kinman seated in a grizzly bear chair at the White House. This chair, presented to President Andrew Johnson, had a very unusual added feature. By touching a cord, the head of the grizzly bear would dart out from under the seat, and gnash its teeth. Color certainly makes this grizzly appear more alive – as if the gnashing teeth wouldn’t be a convincer. You won’t find anything like this at Ikea.