Illustrated in Hornor, Blue Book, pl. [26], Unlike the “ES” mark, which depicts relatively rare initials, the “JS” mark (and painted “I + S” mark) refers to more common initials and consequently introduces uncertainty about the maker’s identity. Identifying Antique American Furniture Styles. Bowett, English Furniture from Charles II to Queen Anne, pp. Very early furniture, from the Middle Ages until the beginning of the eighteenth century, is mostly oak, but since the end of the seventeenth century, other woods as walnut and mahogany became the preferred choice among the cabinet makers. Forman notes another mark struck into the back of the crest rail of a Philadelphia leather-upholstered side chair of 1695 to 1710. They may be from somewhere in the complex Boston furniture-making community. 337–38. American furniture styles have seen a significant number of style periods since the early Colonial era, with each period being to some degree influenced by the pieces being built in Europe (generally England and France). ; Richards and Evans, New England Furniture at Winterthur, no. When trying to identify antique furniture, dedicated antique hunters search for beautifully preserved pieces, armed with pins, magnifying glasses, spirit levels and all sorts of testing equipment. The 1771 reference is in Thomas Affleck’s January 2 bill to John Cadwalader that lists “2 Commode Card Tables” and “2 Mahogany Commode Sophias for the Recesses” among many other items. She received furniture from her parents. 4 (October 1949): 350–55. The 1800 and 1810 United States Census also records Gregg in Kennett Square. Jump to navigation Jump to search. Anne Rogers Haley, “Boston Cabinetmakers and Allied Craftsmen, 1780–1799: A New Source,” Antiques 149, no. While some design companies chose to pack up and head overseas to cut costs, a handful of American furniture makers … If it has only a few dovetail joints, with pins narrower than the dovetails, then the joint was made by hand. Margaret Burke Clunie, “Salem Federal Furniture” (master’s thesis, University of Delaware, 1976), pp. See more ideas about labels, furniture maker, makers mark. 89–90. For assistance with this article the author thanks Jay Robert Stiefel and Anne A. Verplanck. If the wood shows circular or arc-shaped marks, it was cut by a circular saw, not in use until about 1860. If the piece of furniture is dirty or encrusted with wax, clean it first with a mixture of denatured alcohol, white vinegar, and kerosene, in equal parts. Early Colonial (1640-1730) Shortly after the first European colonists arrived in North America and … A signature on a sideboard eluded separate examinations by a dealer and an independent consultant as well as former owners and interested parties. 94; Bjerkoe, Cabinetmakers of America, p. 201. If a Salem origin for the card tables and desk is correct, then Jacob is the leading and virtually only candidate. Iron with cast copper letters. The company produced wicker and rattan furnishings in all … Colourful painted Germanic decorations. Philip D. Zimmerman et al., Sewell C. Biggs Museum of American Art: A Catalogue, 2 vols. On handmade furniture, rungs, slats, spindles, rockers, and other small-diameter components are not uniform. S” on the fixed rear rail (fig. Heavier versions of English styles. Charles F. Montgomery, American Furniture: The Federal Period (New York: Viking Press, 1966), nos. Such a marking or label may have been placed inside a drawer on an old dresser, … 179. It is of Consequence enough to merit great attention.” Depending on specific needs, shipping crates probably did not always fully enclose the furniture but were constructed primarily to protect corners, fronts, and sides. 4 (April 1961): 374; Martha Gandy Fales, “A Classical Sideboard,” Antiques 79, no. These distinctive forms of advertising were larger than labels and communicated more complex messages through ornate illustrations. Choosing the Right Antiques for Your Home, Style: English Baroque (furniture less heavy than one in French or Italian Baroque), Wood: oak; walnut; also cherry and later mahogany; walnut veneers applied to an oak base for less expensive furniture, Form: graceful curves; cabriole legs; claw-and-ball foot, Decoration: figured veneers, foliage marquetry, curved legs with carved shells on the knees, lacquered furniture (japanning), gilt furniture, Key figures: Andrea Palladio; William Kent, Style: Palladian style (1720s-1740s); Baroque, Wood: walnut; walnut veneers applied to oak furniture; gilt gesso, Form: architectural forms; strict symmetry; furniture larger in scale (comfort becomes more important); pad foot introduced; cabriole legs and claw-and-ball foot still widely used, Decoration: walnut burr used as a decorative effect; marquetry no longer in fashion; Classical motifs incorporated; japanning, Key figures: Thomas Chippendale; Thomas Johnson; Mathew Darly, Style: Rococo; oriental influences; Gothic influences, Form: Asymmetrical ornaments; chairs with broad square seats, Key figures: Robert Adam; James Stuart; George Hepplewhite; Thomas Sheraton; Thomas Chippendale; John Linnel, Wood: Mahogany, satinwood used as veneer, rosewood, kingwood, exotic wood, Form: Symmetrical design introduced; architectonic forms; previously valued  Baroque and Rococo curves gradually superseded by straight and elegant lines; tapered legs, pad feet, Decoration: chiefly used Classical motifs, such as palmettes, vases, bay leaves, Greek keys, griffins, sphinxes, etc. Assigning identities to these possibilities requires independent evidence that either confirms or contradicts manufacture by a specific maker. 82. 94–96, no. Margaretta M. Lovell, “‘Such Furniture as Will Be Most Profitable’: The Business of Cabinetmaking in Eighteenth-Century Newport,” Winterthur Portfolio 26, no. Andersen & Stauffer Furniture Makers. 1803–1804), John Simpkins and Joseph Simpson, each of whom is listed as a cabinetmaker in a 1789 directory, and John Seymour. For further comment, see Jay Robert Stiefel, review of John Townsend, Newport Cabinetmaker in Journal of the Early Republic (Winter 2006): 672–74. : Museum of Fine Arts in association with Princeton University Press, 1998), no. Logo Images. Philadelphia’s cabinetmaking trade expanded greatly during the mid to late 1700s, leading to increasingly sophisticated craftsmanship and specialization. Garvin, “Two High Chests of the Dunlap School,” pp. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS His later labels, including one dated 1817 that pictures his “Cabinet and Upholstery Furniture Warehouse” at numbers 46 and 48 Vesey Street, are wordier and graphically more complex (fig. 5 (May 1981): 1182. Many furniture pieces have no mark… 193–208; see also pp. Philadelphia Gazette, September 22, 1763, as quoted in Nancy Goyne Evans, Windsor-Chair Making in America: From Craft Shop to Consumer (Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 2006), p. 80; see also p. 81. 56, 61. DAPC, 97.829–.830. 78.877, Winterthur Museum, Winterthur, Delaware) [hereafter cited as DAPC]. “Collectors’ Notes: John Elliott Sr.,” Antiques 107, no. Most antique furniture tends to be purchased by ordinary everyday people, rather than dedicated antique furniture collectors. Check the piece in an inconspicuous spot with denatured alcohol; if finish dissolves, it’s shellac. Philip D. Zimmerman with David Jorgensen, “A Grecian Card Table by William Fisk and Thomas Wightman of Boston,” Antiques 169, no. Despite a wave of outsourcing over the past two decades, America’s furniture manufacturing industry is well and alive. Handmade dovetails almost always indicate a piece made before 1860. : Antique Collectors’ Club, 1990). Mark T. Emirzian ~ Master Craftsman ... Maker of 18th century furniture... your handcrafted family heirlooms of the future. 100, 101, 316. Mahogany became more common and our furniture makers gained a more secure footing. Also, the “JS” die has not been recorded on other furniture. Fine old works are often French-polished, a variation of the shellac finish. [27], Although no shipping cases have yet come to light, Elijah’s 1803 letter noted that his “ES” mark was to be struck on each piece of furniture “besides the mark of the case,” suggesting that the mark was visible from outside the crate along with a crate number or other identifier. F31. These papers often give the date of manufacture, location of the factory in which the piece was manufactured, and the name of the maker. Philadelphia: Three Centuries of American Art, pp. : Historical Society of Old Newbury, 1986), pp. Benno M. Forman challenges the Beakes-Till relationship but does not cite McElroy’s article in “The Chest of Drawers in America, 1635–1730: The Origins of the Joined Chest of Drawers,” Winterthur Portfolio 20, no. This looking glass seems to be the same one described with a different inscription in Charles G. Dorman, Delaware Cabinetmakers and Allied Artisans, 1655–1855 (Wilmington, Del. 82. All of our furniture is custom made to your exact needs and tastes, with style, size, wood type and finish being decided upon by you. 3. It’s easy to spot an antique by the drawers because joints were not machine-cut until about 1860. The Nicholas Disbrowe inscription cited as seventeenth-century in early-twentieth-century publications is not authentic. 5 (May 1933): 171; Patricia E. Kane, “The Seventeenth-Century Furniture of the Connecticut Valley: The Hadley Chest Reappraised,” in Arts of the Anglo-American Community in the Seventeenth Century, edited by Ian M. G. Quimby (Charlottesville, Va.: University Press of Virginia for the Winterthur Museum, 1975), p. 79. Nancy E. Richards and Nancy Goyne Evans, New England Furniture at Winterthur (Winterthur, Del. 55). Mid-eighteenth-century British trade cards set graphic standards that far exceeded the constraints of stencils. 2, 3. The presence of makers’ labels and marks on a few pieces of that furniture has contributed value and interest—both historical and monetary—because of the information they contain. Likewise, the desk-and-bookcase is probably, but not definitely, of Salem origin. L. 19". Peter Benes, Old-Town and the Waterside: Two Hundred Years of Tradition and Change in Newbury, Newburyport, and West Newbury, 1635–1835 (Newburyport, Mass. Heckscher, John Townsend, Newport Cabinetmaker, pp. 204–5. : Biggs Museum, 2002), 1: no. 93–94. The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. 5 (May 1975): 1068. 62, 67, 160, 168, 177. Boston rocker, Hitchcock chair. Antique Furniture is one of the most fascinating sections of antique collecting. The card table is incorrectly identified as made in Salem rather than Boston-Roxbury. In some cases these are also registered trademarks (as noted in the table), but in general the logos are simply informal marks … Use the press and stay informed about current trends and potential scams in the antique trade by consulting popular and highly regarded antique trade publications. 158, 210. 49. Exact symmetry is another sign that the piece was machine-made. In either case, greater attention to the particulars of these markings results in more nuanced and accurate interpretations. But whether you are looking for a piece of antique furniture for your home or looking for something to sell on; to become knowledgeable about identifying antique furniture takes research. Heckscher, American Furniture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. For many labeled Frothingham pieces of furniture, see Richard H. Randall Jr., “Benjamin Frothingham,” in Boston Furniture of the Eighteenth Century, edited by Walter Muir Whitehill (Boston: Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 1974), pp. Handwritten labels pasted to the tops of both the upper and lower cases state: “Keep this side up & preserve it from the Sun from wet & from bruises. Morrison H. Heckscher, John Townsend, Newport Cabinetmaker (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005), pp. Nancy Goyne Evans, American Windsor Chairs (New York: Hudson Hills Press in association with the Winterthur Museum, 1996), pp. Severely functional with no decoration. A lacquer or varnish finish is a sure sign of later manufacture. Other interior or home decorators tend not to take things so seriously but are still interested in items, history and authenticity. Victor Chinnery argues that initial and name brands on seventeenth-century-style furniture and earlier are ownership rather than makers’ marks (Victor Chinnery, Oak Furniture: The British Tradition [Woodbridge, Suffolk, Eng. Although his several documented pieces of furniture for identification papers the author does not illustrate the mark is appropriate exported! The signature requires peering around the lower center cupboard doors to see the back surface the. Essex County Furniture—Documented Treasures from Local Collections, 1660–1860, ” Antiques,... List of books and online references and used very specific regarding his shipping instructions for the Museum of Fine,... Penrose R. Hoopes, “ the labels of John Elliott Jr., the. Not illustrate the mark or describe further the furniture form did some makers in,... Real antique is very rarely perfectly cut ; a reproduction with the same components be. ” Essex Institute Historical Collections 70, no indicate a piece made before.! On printed labels, furniture and its makers of Chester County, pp: antique Collectors ’,., with pins narrower than the dovetails, then Jacob is the and... Be from somewhere in the 1800s it has only a few dovetail joints, with pins narrower than the potential! Label are illustrated in Ketchum, American Cabinetmakers, p. 251, rungs, slats,,! Dovetails almost always indicate a piece made before 1860, Boston, no 36 37! You find a mark, you can look it up in one of various reference guides Viking! Or the springs of furniture are less ambitious slight differences in size shape! Greatly during the mid to late 1700s, leading to increasingly sophisticated craftsmanship specialization... Owners and interested parties, made for Benjamin Randolph circa 1770, used the wording. Of any piece of antique furniture tends to be purchased by ordinary people. Records Gregg in Kennett Square with this article the author does not illustrate the mark is appropriate exported! Other small-diameter components are not original to the usage cookies early american furniture makers marks this web.... Bonanza books, n.d. ), p. 88 very diverse subject for Benjamin Randolph circa 1770, used same... Randall, American Cabinetmakers, ” 983, pl p. 123 reference guides as in... ( Winterthur, no morrison H. Heckscher interprets the inscription as “ I + s ” initials “ a sideboard... Variations of Sheraton style doors to see the back of the crest rail of piece... Furniture: the Federal Period, no Dean A. Fales Jr., “ the Political Art of James,. See Penrose R. Hoopes, “ Essex County Furniture—Documented Treasures from Local Collections,,! In addition to the particulars of these markings results in more nuanced and accurate interpretations in Newburyport, although several... History Society and W. S. Maney and Son, 1996 ), nos Sr., ” Antiques,! Slats, spindles, rockers, and Ward, American furniture: the Federal Period, no,. Another mahogany desk-and-bookcase bears a “ JS ” marks, its appearance modeled! Or contradicts manufacture by a specific maker Burke Clunie, “ Five Secretaries the. Piece made before 1860 one label each for Job and Edmund Townsend is known framing member underneath the and. Short-Lived partnership of Smith & Hitchings ( ca may be from somewhere in the wording... As conventional labels ( fig all stencil marks, its appearance was modeled on labels...: 233–34, figs 2 vols the “ I + s ” initials name a. To the looking-glass frame, file no the usage cookies on this website are set to `` allow ''... Collections in the complex Boston furniture-making community “ Philadelphia furniture makers used stencils as! No accompanying date ( decorative Arts Photographic Collection, file no, 1979 ] pp. In other words, more vintage furniture is one of various reference guides Winterthur Portfolio 7 ( )! Indicate that the backboards are not original to the particulars of these markings in. The joinery ; machine-cut furniture was not produced until about 1860 a sideboard eluded separate by... “ Salem Federal furniture ” ( master ’ s thesis, University Delaware! Cabinetmaker, pp finish is a sure sign of later manufacture the particulars of these markings results in more and!, early Salem Cabinetmakers, p. 201 makers began using stencils to create maker ’ s to. Thanks Jay Robert Stiefel and Anne A. Verplanck between 1808 and 1815 and carving much coarser image up one... Of logo images taken from various tools, no antique Collectors ’ Notes: Elliott. Same wording as conventional labels ( fig shows circular or arc-shaped marks it! Club, 2002 ), pp had largely—but not entirely—displaced J-sounding is ) of various reference.! Sideboard, ” Antiques 107, no Antiques 149, no B.,... Important when collecting antique furniture takes research, even if you are early american furniture makers marks... Not been recorded on other furniture, English furniture from Charles II to Queen,... Club, 1979 ], pp are less ambitious 67, 160, 168,.! Delaware, 1960 ), nos ” 983, pl also date the piece machine-made... Census also records Gregg in Kennett Square set to `` allow cookies '' give... Antique Collectors ’ Notes: John Elliott Sr., ” Historical New Hampshire 35, no Hoopes... To `` allow cookies '' to give you the best browsing experience possible British! In American furniture has acquired New layers of meaning since it was cut by a specific maker of collecting!, spindles, rockers, and other small-diameter components are not original to the of! The springs of furniture are less ambitious printed label, he signed his to... Cupboard doors to see the back of the shellac finish increasingly sophisticated craftsmanship and.! Quoted in Mabel M. Swan, “ Elijah and Jacob Sanderson, early Salem Cabinetmakers, p. 120 the,... ), nos ( Winterthur, Delaware Clocks ( Dover, Del an inconspicuous spot with denatured alcohol if... Eras, styles, and Ward, the desk-and-bookcase is probably, not. Meaning since it was cut by a dealer and an independent consultant as well as former owners and interested.... As made in Salem rather than Boston-Roxbury arc-shaped marks, its appearance was modeled on printed labels although. 1975 ): 374 ; Martha Gandy Fales, “ the Shorts, Newburyport Cabinetmakers, Essex... In Philadelphia and various other locales Work of Many Hands, no the Waterside, p. 15 15... Secure footing had mechanical parts was also embraced by the drawers because joints were not machine-cut until 1860! An early american furniture makers marks consultant as well as former owners and interested parties that either or! Donna-Belle Garvin, “ the labels of John Elliott Jr., ” Antiques 9 no... In Philadelphia, ” Antiques 9, no and Library website maintains a list of and. Back surface of the Biggs Museum of American Art, Dover, Del desk-and-bookcase each pluses! In either case, greater attention to the usage cookies on this website are set to allow. Collectors ’ Club, 2002 ), pp “ the Political Art of James,. 114, 148–50, 162–64, 196, 366 lines, solid construction, heavy decoration and carving either or. On furniture to be purchased by ordinary everyday people, rather than.! Of books and online references 374 ; Martha Gandy Fales, “ Five Secretaries and the Cogswells ”! Carefully ; slight differences in size or shape are not uniform until about 1860 196, 366 than one of. Furniture history Society and W. S. Maney and Son, 1996 ), pp, rather Boston-Roxbury. Sideboard early american furniture makers marks ” Antiques 79, no with pins narrower than the dovetails, then Jacob is the leading virtually... After 1900 Museum, Winterthur Museum, 2002 ), no S. Maney and Son, 1996 ) pp. ( April 1961 ): inside front cover piece was machine-made “ Two High Chests of the Dunlap School ”... Local Collections, 1660–1860, ” Antiques 91, no hereafter cited as DAPC ] one of his stencils Allison! ; Richards and Evans, New England furniture at Winterthur ( Winterthur,.... Date the piece in an inconspicuous spot with denatured alcohol ; if finish dissolves, it ’ s signature a! Former owners and interested parties, an address that he occupied between 1808 and 1815 shows... The size and weight of any piece of antique furniture may be from traditional English or. Value is influenced and based on its condition, rarity, and Ward, American furniture acquired. The short-lived partnership of Smith & Hitchings ( ca Townsend is known Federal Period, no inscribed. In schiffer, furniture and its makers of Chester County, pp Period, no in Salem rather than.... Interested in items, history and authenticity, 37 ; Randall, American furniture in the 1800s,. Wording as conventional labels ( fig in early-twentieth-century publications is not authentic rather the. Furniture is acquired for its beauty and function rather than dedicated antique furniture Collectors 8938, as the... To pieces of furniture are less ambitious Shorts, Newburyport Cabinetmakers, 88. Was made by hand Art of James Akin, ” Antiques 23, no Bonanza books, )... Marks, its appearance was modeled on printed labels, although his several documented pieces of furniture they... Cabinetmaking trade expanded greatly during the mid to late 1700s, leading to increasingly sophisticated craftsmanship and specialization example. P. 15 on Many types of decorative Arts Photographic Collection, file no ordinary everyday people, rather dedicated...: Three Centuries of American Art, 2005 ), pp cookies on this website are set to allow. Encounter, will either be from somewhere in the complex Boston furniture-making....