"Jem sat down in a cane-bottom chair and opened Ivanhoe."
cane bottom chair
GNU Free Documentation Licensecane bottom chair - Credit: crozettoday.com

The cane in these cane-bottom chairs is the bark from a vine. To be pliant and workable, cane needs to be soaked before it can be woven. Cane-bottom chairs are very popular, even to the point where the famous writer William Makepeace Thackeray wrote a poem about them:

But of all the cheap treasures that garnish my nest,

There is one that I love and I cherish the best:

For the finest of couches that's padded with hair

I never would change thee, my cane-bottom'd chair.