John S. Babcock Miniature Furniture Collection
I suspect that many Westporters have in their possession a piece of John Babcock’s miniature furniture. Such pieces may be considered dollhouse furniture, but the level of craftsmanship elevates his work to something more than just toys for child’s play.
Fortunately, the Westport Historical Society has a representative sample of this miniature furniture. Made by Westporter John S. Babcock (1864-1954), these sturdy pieces are notable for their artistry, materials, and historical accuracy. Each piece is an accurate miniature reproduction, made to a scale of one inch to one foot, of a specific furniture style such as Boston rockers, high chairs, and corner chairs.
Babcock, a carpenter by trade, made use of all kinds of wood. A newspaper article notes that “one chair is made of Horseneck hurricane pine wood” and another from “laurel wood found in the Cole Brook woods near Adamsville.” His personal collection included a corner chair made from white rambler rose wood, a fan back chair made from peach wood and a chair made of black ebony, originally used for a piano key.
Other woods used include elm, rosewood, catalpa, blueberry, sassafras and teakwood. Babcock also used wood cut on his own property such as lilac, forsythia, wisteria and hydrangea.
The Historical Society’s collection also includes other types of miniature furniture: a bedroom set, desk, dresser, spinning wheel, grandfather clock, and sideboard.
John Babcock built his own home located at 1913 Drift Road and settled there in 1910 with his wife, Emma L. Reed Babcock.
WHS Collection 2004.016