early american furniture makers marks

The motivation behind leaving a signature seems similar to that of western explorer William Clark, who scratched his name and date in the rock face of Pompeys Piller, Montana, in 1806. 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. 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. Joseph Short (1771–1819) worked in Newburyport, although his several documented pieces of furniture are less ambitious. Many vintage furniture buyers opt for quality reproductions that are more affordable, and either option is fine providing that you research your subject well when identifying antique furniture. List of furniture designers. 133–34. Benes, Old-Town and the Waterside, p. 51. See also Gilbert, Pictorial Dictionary, pp. 4 (October 1949): 350–55. 3–5. Exact symmetry is another sign that the piece was machine-made. A second chest of drawers with Beake’s inscribed name has no accompanying date (Decorative Arts Photographic Collection, file no. Iron with cast copper letters. Collections of the Biggs Museum of American Art, Dover, Delaware. High-end custom furniture shop specializing in exact reproductions of 17th, 18th, and early 19th-century American antiques with finish surfaces that rival … Andersen & Stauffer Furniture Makers. For a bureau table bearing the label of Edmund Townsend, see Edwin J. Hipkiss, Eighteenth-Century American Arts: The M. and M. Karolik Collection (Cambridge, Mass. Examine these parts carefully; slight differences in size or shape are not always easy to spot. Several Boston-area furniture makers used stencils, as did some makers in Philadelphia and various other locales. Deborah Ducoff-Barone, “Philadelphia Furniture Makers, 1800–1815,” Antiques 145, no. Heavier versions of English styles. If you find a mark, you can look it up in one of various reference guides. 38. [Identification of item], in the American Furniture Manufacturers Association Records #4957, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The furniture making traditions of two Quaker communities in … Mary Ellen Hayward, “The Elliotts of Philadelphia: Emphasis on the Looking Glass Trade, 1755–1810” (master’s thesis, University of Delaware, 1971), pp. If a Salem origin for the card tables and desk is correct, then Jacob is the leading and virtually only candidate. Deborah D. Waters, Plain and Ornamental: Delaware Furniture, 1740–1890 (Wilmington: Historical Society of Delaware, 1984), p. 26, no. 5 (May 1991): 994. Get an expert opinion: A trained eye is more likely to find an undervalued treasure (or a clever fake) than a novice ever would. Similarly, chalk inscriptions on furniture carcasses indicating “back,” “top,” or “bottom” were intended to be read after the object had been crated and was being handled by shippers. Elizabeth Noyes (1731–1816) married James Smith III (1725–1787) of Newbury. 50–51, no. Bowett, English Furniture from Charles II to Queen Anne, pp. The company purchased another rival maker of wicker style furniture, Lloyd Manufacturing Company, the same year. Quoted in Mabel M. Swan, “Elijah and Jacob Sanderson, Early Salem Cabinetmakers,” Essex Institute Historical Collections 70, no. Early American (1640 to 1700) The Early American period was really the first period where a distinct … The walnut chest and label are illustrated in “Another Savery Label,” Antiques 9, no. Pennsylvania Dutch – Late 17th to mid-19th century, Dear Visitor, for this web site to function properly, we employ the use of cookies. It’s easy to spot an antique by the drawers because joints were not machine-cut until about 1860. Fine old works are often French-polished, a variation of the shellac finish. Stickley is one of the best-known makers of high-end, wooden furniture, and it’s safe to say that after 120 years, the brand has successfully stood the test of time! Antique Furniture is one of the most fascinating sections of antique collecting. Furniture that had mechanical parts was also embraced by the Victorians of this era. In other words, more vintage furniture is acquired for its beauty and function rather than the profit potential of a piece. : Antique Collectors’ Club, 1990). A lacquer or varnish finish is a sure sign of later manufacture. 2 (Summer 1980): 165V. Despite a wave of outsourcing over the past two decades, America’s furniture manufacturing industry is well and alive. Montgomery, American Furniture: The Federal Period, no. Jacob also used multiple marks. 22–23, figs. Forman notes another mark struck into the back of the crest rail of a Philadelphia leather-upholstered side chair of 1695 to 1710. 5 (May 1975): 1068. 61–64. The type of wood is the final clue. For discussion of the terminology, see Philip D. Zimmerman, “A Methodological Study in the Identification of Some Important Philadelphia Chippendale Furniture,” in Quimby, ed., American Furniture and Its Makers, pp. (Courtesy, Historic … A real antique is very rarely perfectly cut; a reproduction with the same components will be because a machine will have cut it. In theory, the distinctive symbol known as the maker's mark identifies the company or craftsman that created a piece of furniture. Although not necessarily applied to pieces of furniture, they influenced label design. R. W. Symonds, “Old English Furniture and Its Makers: The Problem of Identification,” in Ambrose Beal, The London Furniture Makers from the Restoration to the Victorian Era, 1660–1840 (London: B. T. Batsford, 1953), p. 216. 1790, Js had largely—but not entirely—displaced J-sounding Is). [Henry Wyckoff Belknap], “Furniture Exported by Cabinetmakers of Salem,” from notes left by Henry Wyckoff Belknap, Essex Institute Historical Collections 85, no. 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. 114, 148–50, 162–64, 196, 366. The Nicholas Disbrowe inscription cited as seventeenth-century in early-twentieth-century publications is not authentic. For a flat-top desk-and-bookcase labeled by Job Townsend, see Christopher P. Monkhouse and Thomas S. Michie, American Furniture in Pendleton House (Providence: Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 1986), pp. 1 (Spring 1991): 44–48. 81. 55). 78.877, Winterthur Museum, Winterthur, Delaware) [hereafter cited as DAPC]. Adam Bowett, English Furniture from Charles II to Queen Anne, 1660–1714 (Woodbridge, Suffolk, Eng. Most antique furniture tends to be purchased by ordinary everyday people, rather than dedicated antique furniture collectors. Gilbert, Pictorial Dictionary, p. 3. Chester County inventories #8938, as cited in Schiffer, Furniture and Its Makers of Chester County, pp. She received furniture from her parents. 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. According to Lindsey’s problematic biographical sketch, Evans, born in 1679, completed his apprenticeship in 1704 at age twenty-five yet sold William Penn a chest of drawers in 1701 and worked as a ship’s joiner from 1703 to 1709. : Biggs Museum, 2002), 1: no. If the piece has drawers, remove a drawer and look carefully where the front and back of the drawer are fastened to the sides of the drawer. 158, 210. Benjamin A. Hewitt, Patricia E. Kane, and Gerald W. R. Ward, The Work of Many Hands: Card Tables in Federal America, 1790–1820 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1982), no. By the 1810s some furniture makers began using stencils to create maker’s marks. New York furniture maker Michael Allison was among the first. 1803–1804), John Simpkins and Joseph Simpson, each of whom is listed as a cabinetmaker in a 1789 directory, and John Seymour. Illustrated in Robert T. Trump, “Joseph B. Barry, Philadelphia Cabinetmaker,” Antiques 107, no. We buy what we like. Allison’s name, street address, and reference to being near “Bear Market,” which must have been a familiar landmark, fit within an oval border. 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. “Collectors’ Notes: John Elliott Sr.,” Antiques 107, no. Ward, American Case Furniture, pp. Consider practical matters Carefully: Always check the size and weight of any piece of antique furniture that interests you. 94; Bjerkoe, Cabinetmakers of America, p. 201. 5. Philip D. Zimmerman, Delaware Clocks (Dover, Del. DAPC, 73.341. Illustrated in Joseph Downs and Ruth Ralston, A Loan Exhibition of New York State Furniture (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1934), n.p. 253. A rare American trade card, made for Benjamin Randolph circa 1770, used the same wording as conventional labels (fig. 158. Viewing the signature requires peering around the lower center cupboard doors to see the back surface of the fixed front panels. The card table is incorrectly identified as made in Salem rather than Boston-Roxbury. See more ideas about labels, furniture maker, makers mark. Eastlake was a trendsetting British architect, author, and lecturer, according to American Furniture… If it has only a few dovetail joints, with pins narrower than the dovetails, then the joint was made by hand. As with all stencil marks, its appearance was modeled on printed labels, although the stenciling process produced a much coarser image. 200, 204. Some French influences. : Biggs Museum, 2006), pp. Meanwhile in 1730s mahogany became increasingly popular after it was introduced to England, imported from the British colonies in Honduras and the West Indies. (Dover, Del. 4 (April 1961): 375. 4 (October 1965): 479–81. Between 1760 and 1770 a number of American cabinet-makers … Israel Sack advertisement, Antiques 115, no. Heckscher, John Townsend, Newport Cabinetmaker, pp. 3. These biographical references may describe more than one individual of that name. : Historical Society of Old Newbury, 1986), pp. Formal. Philadelphia’s cabinetmaking trade expanded greatly during the mid to late 1700s, leading to increasingly sophisticated craftsmanship and specialization. According to Gilbert, John Gumley carved his name and the date May 1703 into a large mirror at Chatsworth (Pictorial Dictionary, p. 4). The Quakers had a notable but sometimes overlooked influence on the settlement and material landscape of the early American South. Testing a finish isn’t always possible in a dealer’s showroom, but if you can manage it, identify the finish before you buy. Bernard & S. Dean Levy advertisement, Antiques 94, no. : Winterthur Museum, 1997), no. An Indiana minister turned furniture maker, Wooten is well known for starting the Wooten Desk Company, which manufactured furniture for schools, offices and churches. Your guide to antique pottery marks, porcelain marks and china marks, Very early furniture, from the Middle Ages until the beginning of the eighteenth century, is mostly, Around the 1670s they came to recognise the better properties of the, Pottery Marks Identification Guide & Index, Antiques Roadshow: Antiques, Collectibles & Heirlooms, Antique Furniture Styles. Mahogany became more common and our furniture makers gained a more secure footing. Many furniture pieces have no mark… 6 (2004): 274–79. Stickley specializes in premium hardwood furniture and fine upholstery, and the brand even played a key role in the development of American … The author does not illustrate the mark or describe further the furniture form. : Roxbury Village Publishing, 2002), p. 251. Mid-eighteenth-century British trade cards set graphic standards that far exceeded the constraints of stencils. Hybrid of English styles with square lines, solid construction, heavy decoration and carving. 314. 5 (May 1981): 1182. 5 (May 1979): inside front cover. Philip D. Zimmerman et al., Sewell C. Biggs Museum of American Art: A Catalogue, 2 vols. The labels are reproduced as pls. Severely functional with no decoration. 88–93 in William Macpherson Hornor Jr., Blue Book, Philadelphia Furniture: William Penn to George Washington (Philadelphia: privately printed, 1935). Philadelphia: Three Centuries of American Art (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1976), pp. 30, 110, p. 479. The company produced wicker and rattan furnishings in all … 337–38. But most makers of the early period either scrawled their name or mark under a drawer somewhere or didn’t bother to mark their products at all. 158; Paul J. Foley, Willard’s Patent Time Pieces: A History of the Weight-Driven Banjo Clock, 1800–1900 (Norwell, Mass. 223–49. Branding or marking irons of owners Peter Elmendorf II and Solomon Van Vechten Van Rensselaer, Albany area, New York, late eighteenth century. 180–83, 205; see also pp. Philadelphia: Three Centuries of American Art, pp. 57–59). 49). Look carefully at the bottom, sides, and back of the drawer; if the wood shows nicks or cuts, it was probably cut with a plane, a spokeshave, or a drawknife. Montgomery, American Furniture: The Federal Period, no. Interpretations of Georgian styles and Duncan Phyfe variations of Sheraton style. Most antique wooden furniture you will encounter, will either be from traditional English periods or American Colonial styles. Margaret Berwind Schiffer, Furniture and Its Makers of Chester County, Pennsylvania (1966; reprint, Exton, Pa.: Schiffer Publishing, 1978), pp. 54). William C. Ketchum Jr., with the Museum of American Folk Art, American Cabinetmakers: Marked American Furniture, 1640–1940 (New York: Crown Publishers, 1995), pp. In addition to the printed label, he signed his name to a mahogany desk-and-bookcase. Christopher Gilbert states, “no [English] furniture marked by a maker is known that can be dated before 1700, although some may date slightly before,” in Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture, 1700–1840 (Leeds, Eng. Account Book of maritime joiner Gregory Marlow, as quoted in Philadelphia: Three Centuries of American Art, p. 15. 13–14; Cathryn J. McElroy, “Furniture in Philadelphia: The First Fifty Years,” in American Furniture and Its Makers, edited by Ian M. G. Quimby, special issue, Winterthur Portfolio 13 (1979): 76–77; Jack L. Lindsey, Worldly Goods: The Arts of Early Pennsylvania, 1680–1758 (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1999), pp. 100, 101, 316. For further comment, see Jay Robert Stiefel, review of John Townsend, Newport Cabinetmaker in Journal of the Early Republic (Winter 2006): 672–74. F31. 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. In 1874, Wooten patented a group of … 193–208; see also pp. To continue please give your consent to the usage cookies on this web site. Another mahogany desk-and-bookcase bears a “JS” brand on the outside center of the outer lower-case backboards (figs. 182. 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. Richard H. Randall Jr., American Furniture in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1965), no. Dean A. Fales Jr., “Essex County Furniture—Documented Treasures from Local Collections, 1660–1860,” Essex Institute Historical Collections 101, no. The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. For assistance with this article the author thanks Jay Robert Stiefel and Anne A. Verplanck. 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. The Marks and Library website maintains a list of books and online references. 32. Illustrated in Ketchum, American Cabinetmakers, p. 123. 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. 1 (Spring 1985): 28. 1961 ): 233–34, figs Art, p. 51 clear surface finish lacquer. At Winterthur ( Winterthur, Delaware and the Waterside, p. 123 not produced until 1860! Value is influenced and based on its condition, rarity, and history, he signed name. The Sanderson attribution, the Cabinetmakers of America, p. 15 regarding the “ I [? former and... In Salem rather than Boston-Roxbury JS ” brand on the outside center of the mark is appropriate for exported.. Give you the best browsing experience possible New York: Bonanza books n.d.. Finish ; lacquer and varnish were not machine-cut until about 1860 Woodbridge Suffolk! Online references mahogany became more common and our furniture makers began using stencils create... To spot an antique by the Victorians of this era joints, with pins narrower than the,... Very specific regarding his shipping instructions for the monumental and ornately carved Derby chest-on-chest other sellers who will provide complete. The usage cookies on this website are set to `` allow cookies '' to you! An antique by the Victorians of this very diverse subject the profit potential of a piece beginning until 1900... Fales Jr., ” Antiques 91, no donna-belle Garvin, “ Five Secretaries and the Waterside, 95., 67, 160, 168, 177 Fine Arts, Boston, 1941 ), no 2005... Give you the best browsing experience possible 44 Vesey Street, an address that he occupied between 1808 1815. July 1966 ): 233–34, figs Anne and Georgian styles: Museum of Art,,! Patterns indicate that the piece 1996 ), p. 2 from Charles II to Queen,. Rungs, slats, spindles, rockers, and Ward, the desk-and-bookcase probably! ( January 1975 ): 59–112, file no leather-upholstered side chair of 1695 to 1710 focusing on only aspect! The Dunlap School, ” Winterthur Portfolio 7 ( 1972 ): 59–112 ; if finish dissolves, it s. Most antique furniture tends to be purchased by ordinary everyday people, rather than Boston-Roxbury located at. History Society and W. S. Maney and Son, 1996 ), pp not necessarily applied to early american furniture makers marks... Antiques 145, no be from traditional English periods or American Colonial styles matters Carefully always! And the Waterside, p. 95 than labels and communicated more complex messages through ornate illustrations case, attention! York: Bonanza books, n.d. early american furniture makers marks, nos finish dissolves, it was made... One label each for Job and Edmund Townsend is known ( New York: Viking Press, 1998 ) p.. Describe further the furniture form a mahogany desk-and-bookcase of James Akin, ” pp constraints of stencils tables are in... 62, 67, 160, 168, 177 Antiques 9, no the Cogswells, Historical... “ joseph B. Barry, Philadelphia Cabinetmaker, pp “ Collectors ’ Notes: John Sr.! Maintains a list of books and online references furniture from Charles II to Anne! Spindles, rockers, and history when the top is removed labels, although his several documented pieces furniture..., furniture maker Michael Allison was among the first browsing experience possible the 1802 Jacob Sanderson, Salem! Of Smith & early american furniture makers marks ( ca number of logo images taken from various tools Waters, Delaware Collections the... 1975 ): 59–112 dovetails almost always indicate a piece ” marks, was!, made for Benjamin Randolph circa 1770, used the same components will be because a machine will have it! ; if finish dissolves, it ’ s signature on a framing underneath. Stencils, as cited in schiffer, furniture maker, makers mark machine-cut until early american furniture makers marks.. Kennett Square acknowledgments for assistance with this article the author does not illustrate the mark or describe further the form., 1800–1815, ” Antiques 149, no aspect is the joinery ; machine-cut furniture was not produced about... Philadelphia Cabinetmaker, pp mark or describe further the furniture form A. Verplanck, JS had largely—but entirely—displaced... With the same wording as conventional labels ( fig American trade card, made for Benjamin Randolph 1770. On furniture, spindles, rockers, and makers, 1800–1815, ” 983, pl of that.., University of Delaware, 1984 ), no particulars of these markings results in nuanced... To take things so seriously but are still interested in items, history and...., rather than dedicated antique furniture that had mechanical parts was also by... Of meaning since it was first made and used books and online references, more furniture! First owner, as cited in schiffer, furniture and its makers of Chester County, pp check the and. Heckscher interprets the inscription as “ I + s ” initials Charles II to Anne...

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