I finally took the power sander to the two black wooden chairs that I picked up out of bulk trash a month or so ago. I scrubbed them down to remove cobwebs and dirt, and then hit them with the sander to take off some ooopsies of white paint they had on them, and to bring some patches of natural wood through the black paint. Then I got some good furniture oil (Gold's, and it was almond scented, which I just have to say I think is really weird) and gave them a good wiping down to give the wood some luster. They look better! I don't think this will be their finished state, but at least they are clean, and have had a little love!
My mom thought they might be old, and told me to look for a marking underneath. I did, and found they were mass produced in September 2003. Oh well. At least I saved them from the city dump AND got them for free! They also met the most important criteria -- they are comfortable. They do need a big cushion though, because they are a little low for my table.