Geek Trivia

Which U.S. President Popularized The Use Of Rocking Chairs?

Franklin D. Roosevelt
John F. Kennedy
James Madison
Ulysses S. Grant
Which Star Trek Iconic Lent His Voice To A Decepticon In The 1986 Transformers Movie?

Answer: John F. Kennedy

The rocking chair has a rather firmly entrenched cultural image as the preferred chair of the elderly and the leisurely—of old women rocking on farm porches and vacationers watching the sun set in the shade of cabanas.

It’s particularly interesting then that they were significantly popularized in the 1960s by the rather youthful and energetic U.S. president, John F. Kennedy. In 1955, his personal physician Janet Travell recommended swimming and the use of a rocking chair as therapy to ease his pain from an injury he sustained during World War II. The recommendation was apparently effective and Kennedy was totally sold on the use of a rocking chair as a way to engage his muscles while sitting and keeping the pain at bay.

When he became President, he took his favorite rocking chair right along with him to the White House and on Air Force One when he traveled. He also bought additional rocking chairs for Camp David and all the Kennedy estates, and frequently gave them as gifts to friends, family, and even heads of state. Kennedy’s White House rocker is now on permanent display at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum.

If you’re a fan of rocking chairs and want to own a little piece of history, the company that made his favorite chair is still in operation today. The P&P Chair Company, based out of North Carolina, still makes the same exact rocking chairs by hand that Kennedy loved back in the 1960s.

Image courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Library/White House Photographs Collection.