Tips for Dating Old Pieces Made in America

Antique furniture dating, tips & advice on identifying antique furniture

Timeline and descriptions of antique furniture styles

Identifying Antique Furniture and Furnishings

Expect to find straight legs or fluted and slightly tapered legs. One of his principles was the relationship between function, form and craftsmanship. These routers were ancestors of the electric precision tools of today, and could be used to rapidly cut a machined dovetail joint.

Sheraton, The style known as Sheraton closely resembles Federal. The style began in France and England, but eventually migrated to America where it evolved into two other furniture styles, Naturalistic and Renaissance Revival. The Gothic Revival, This is relatively easy to identify for collectors. Hand cut dovetails were used to hold the sides of drawers together, but also to join the structural members of case furniture. Victorian, online free dating sites for The Victorian period as it relates to furniture styles can be divided into several distinct styles.

Tips for Dating Old Pieces Made in America

In other words, it's best to insure your antique furniture for the maximum amount of money it would cost to replace that item if it were lost or damaged. New technology advancements allowed more machined parts to be generated. It was especially popular, with regional variations, in Irish and Philadelphia furniture.

The ball foot is one of the earliest, most basic types of furniture foot styles. The type of dovetailed joint, especially in drawers, reveals much about furniture construction and dating. This over-view of the dovetailing techniques should easily help identification and dating of most furniture from the last years. And, realize that those masterpieces are actually few and far between. One exception to this is known as the Spanish foot, which flares to a scroll.

How to Date Furniture by Casters
Antique Furniture Value Lookup
  • Combining this dating process with several other techniques will help you make an accurate age determination.
  • Art Nouveau, Just as the Art Nouveau period is known for women with long hair, flowers and curves, so is Art Nouveau furniture.
  • If you're interested in looking up the value of your antique furniture, you have many tools at your disposal.
  • Cuts and nicks can also leave proof that hand chisels and other tools operated with sheer elbow grease were used to shape woods.
  • Her love of ornate styles is well known.

Determine the Age of Antique Furniture

  1. Becoming knowledgeable about antique furniture takes research, even if you are focusing on only one aspect of this wide-ranging subject.
  2. The French held it in higher esteem.
  3. Look for authentically worn or distressed stamps or manufacturer burn marks.
  4. Your guide to antique pottery marks, porcelain marks and china marks.
  5. Invaluable is an auction site for art and antiques, and it provides free information on the value of items sold on the site.
  6. It wasn't until this time that sophisticated jigs and cutters were built to automate this process.
Antique Furniture Value Lookup

Most antique furniture tends to be purchased by ordinary everyday people, rather than dedicated antique furniture collectors. Some cast-iron elements can be found on furniture from this period, especially if it was cast as scrolls. This is a furniture foot style in which a simple, flattened oval-shaped block of wood rests on a disk or pad. This foot type has been popular almost continuously, in variations, since it was introduced in the s.

Tips & Advice on Identifying Antique Furniture

Most of these values are given in a dollar range rather then a specific figure. The spade foot style has a rectangular shape that is wide at the top tapering to a narrower base. That is what makes this field so exciting for newcomers and veterans alike.

It is usually found on case pieces. The style was only popular in clusters, but did entice makers from larger metropolitan areas, such as Boston and New Orleans, to embrace the style. Real lacquer changes color after time.

This layered effect was achieved by gluing thin layers together, with the grains running at right angles on each new layer. Chairs with exaggerated proportions, winged splats, shell motifs, and trifid feet were all characteristic of the sophisticated furniture made in colonial Philadelphia. As the dovetail joint evolved through the last one hundred thirty years, it becomes a clue for the age and authenticity of antique furniture. The type of wood is the final clue.

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Identifying Antique Furniture Foot Styles

There are several popular options, most of which are available at your local bookstore or from an online book retailer. Although the dolphin as decoration dates back to Renaissance furniture, the use specifically in a chair or table feet began around the mids. Legs and feet of this form are cabriole or scrolling. Makers used expensive materials, such as veneers, lacquered woods, glass and steel. This type of turned furniture foot, separated from the leg by a ring, is basically cylindrical in shape although it swells out slightly and then tapers down to a plain point.

How to Date Antique Furniture

Looking at the bottom or back of a piece, or inside its doors and drawers, can provide important clues about whether or not a piece of old furniture was machine cut or crafted by hand. Examining these elements individually, as well as furniture pieces in their entirety, will help you learn to correctly date them. The American craftsmen began to incorporate more flowing patriotic motifs, such as eagles with spread wings.

The presence of brass hardware at all also tells a tale. The monopodium foot also appears on sofas, chairs and case pieces. Former architectural periods found most furniture placed against the outside perimeter of the walls and brought forward to be used. The Chrysler Building in New York City remains among the finest example of Art Deco architecture and those same straight lines and gentle curves are found in furniture. Lines are crisp, with some use of controlled curves.

It is sometimes called a knurl toe. The use of bolster pillows and more upholstery is starting to emerge. Sometimes referenced as a melon foot. This style originated with the French, matchmaking solo but was embraced by American furniture manufacturers. This style of furniture is much more delicate than its predecessor.

Author Ken Melchert has taught Art History for many years. Showroom - Frequently Asked Questions. The time frame is the same.

Upholstery becomes slimmer. Some popular antiques are quite well documented and may be tied to a specific time period in history making an age determination quite simple. There is some detective work to be done if you want to really ensure that the antique is real, and a qualified inspector should be hired if you're spending any appreciable sum of money.

Printed Furniture Value Guides
How to Date Furniture by Casters

This is one of the easiest ways to provide a fairly accurate date stamp to any antique. If you own valuable antique furniture, you may want to list it separately for insurance purposes. You can use printed antique price guides to help you get an idea of your piece's value. In addition to the helpful print guides available in stores and at your local library, you can find out about the worth of your furniture online. 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.

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