From finding chair-making equipment from the 1850s, to meeting the owner of Chilton Furniture and getting featured in Popular Mechanics; together these things have helped rebuild a once faded family business back to a thriving operation.
Tappan Chairs is an interesting part of Sandwich history for several reasons. Not only has it continued in Sandwich for seven generations, but the style and way the chairs are made hasn’t changed much either. A couple of years ago a man contacted Mr. Nudd-Homeyer saying that he had some old tools that he had bought about fifteen years ago at an auction. He bought them not wanting them to be separated, and they had been sitting in his barn since then. It turned out that these were the exact tools that the original Tappan family had used to craft their chairs. By incorporating them into the making of the chairs today, Mr. Nudd-Homeyer has been able to keep an authentic piece of history alive.
“That's the thing that makes these chairs so special—their story,” says Nudd-Homeyer.
Moving to Sandwich, and becoming the director of the Sandwich Historical Society gave him access to the history of the business. Besides his skills in teaching, woodworking, German, and local history, Mr. Nudd-Homeyer is a skilled welder, and resurrected the statue of Niobe to its original home on the Great Wall of Sandwich. He is truly a Sandwich Renaissance man.
Mr. Nudd-Homeyer talked about how, although he’s very happy with the business, he would love to help continue the legacy that has been created by turning it into something more than just a sell-a-chair business model, like a nonprofit or an artist residency program. With its historical background and current vision, Tappan Chairs is one of Sandwich's many interesting and unconventional businesses.