Antique furniture dating, recognizing age and construction in antique furniture

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. Lines of this furniture style tend to be crisp, while facades might be decorated with bold grains of walnut or maple veneers, framed by inlaid bands. Legs are usually cabriole or have substantial turned profiles.

Identifying Antique Furniture Foot Styles

Antique Furniture Value Lookup

This is a furniture foot style in which a simple, flattened oval-shaped block of wood rests on a disk or pad. Hand cut dovetails were used to hold the sides of drawers together, but also to join the structural members of case furniture. New furniture forms of this period include the sleigh bed, with the headboard and footboard forming a graceful arch.

Recognizing Age and Construction in Antique Furniture

But there are a number of other factors to consider as well, including the tools that were used to craft a piece and what the individual components look like. Robert Adam is credited with creating the style known as Hepplewhite during the s and leading the form. Legs tend to be sweeping or cabriole.

Identifying Antique Furniture

How to Determine the Age of Antique Furniture

Printed Furniture Value Guides

  • That said, it is important to realize that skilled craftsmen are building furniture by hand even today so you'll want to continue to investigate the age of the piece using at least one other method.
  • Art Nouveau, Just as the Art Nouveau period is known for women with long hair, flowers and curves, so is Art Nouveau furniture.
  • It is not a solid carved piece but created by applying pieces of wood to the bottom of a square, tapered leg.

Antique Furniture Value Lookup

Lines tend to be sweeping, undulating curves. Upholstery can be vinyl or smooth fabrics. Shipping furniture can be a costly proposition. Fine old works are often French-polished, a variation of the shellac finish.

Real lacquer changes color after time. If your piece is seeing this darkening effect, you're safe to assume that the piece is at least years old. While it is possible that an owner replaced the knobs on an antique with more modern units, you'll most likely be able to tell. It is characterized by elements reminiscent of Greek architecture, such as pilasters, flutes, column, acanthus, foliate scrolls, Greek key motifs and anthemion high-relief carving. When the joint is expertly executed, it is a thing of beauty, and a secure joining of two boards that can last for centuries.

Possibly, you have a Federal or American Empire piece. This can mean that they were handcrafted prior to or so. This secretary desk from about was built by a good country carpenter, notice the dovetails on the side of the drawer, and holding the top and side planks together as well. As discussed above, this is especially evident on the back or underside of pieces made prior to the mids. They are sometimes referred to as a Dutch foot or spoon foot.

How to Determine the Age of Antique Furniture

A primer on furniture styles

The thick panels created were then steamed in molds to create the illusion of carving. Typically, the insurance value of an antique item is the highest retail value for that item. It is sometimes called a knurl toe. If you own valuable antique furniture, you may want to list it separately for insurance purposes. Original labels bearing these names are sometimes found on furniture pieces from this period, giving further provenance.

  1. Most of these values are given in a dollar range rather then a specific figure.
  2. Other dark woods were featured, often to contrast the lighter ornaments.
  3. By adding flowers, either carved or painted, the furniture pieces of this era had a softness to them.
  4. An analysis of these pores with a Jeweler's loop can help you determine if the wood was painted, and if so do all of the individual components of the antique furniture match in age?
  5. French Restoration, This is the first sub-category of the Victoria era.
  6. The Empire Classical period influence is felt, but French Restoration lacks some of the ornamentation and fussiness of that period.

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. Steam power, transferred by pulleys and leather belts, operated saws, carving machines and routers that could copy an original pattern exactly. From the s up until the Eastlake period in the s, brass hardware fell out of favor in furniture manufacture and was sparsely used. Finishes were natural, fumed or painted. Dovetails have great strength, holding pieces of wood in perfect alignment over long periods of time.

On handmade furniture, rungs, slats, spindles, rockers, and other small-diameter components are not uniform. If you have a piece with brasses, guide dating it's most likely pres or a revival piece from the late s on. Shapes of furniture from this style tend to be more rectangular.

Online Antique Furniture Value Lookup

This over-view of the dovetailing techniques should easily help identification and dating of most furniture from the last years. Combining this dating process with several other techniques will help you make an accurate age determination. The type of dovetailed joint, especially in drawers, reveals much about furniture construction and dating. There are several popular options, most of which are available at your local bookstore or from an online book retailer. 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.

Reflecting the architectural ornamentation of the period, inlays were popular, as was carving and even painted highlights. If it has only a few dovetail joints, with pins narrower than the dovetails, then the joint was made by hand. Legs tend to be curved to scrolled or cloven hoof feet.

Dovetails - A Clue for Dating Antiques - The Harp Gallery
Determine the Age of Antique Furniture

Glues of the period sometimes weakened. Stylistically it also reflects the architectural style known as Federal, where balance and symmetry were extremely important. The monopodium foot also appears on sofas, online dating friend zone chairs and case pieces. Look for authentically worn or distressed stamps or manufacturer burn marks. Manufacturers have been stamping their wares for centuries.

Timeline and descriptions of antique furniture styles

Although it requires registration, Kovels. Several good books covering early American furniture history are available online or at local bookstores. These are sometimes referenced as tulip feet. Silk, wool, and cotton have been spun and woven into a variety of damasks, satins, dating deutschland and brocades with many different patterns.

The most expensive antique furniture piece sold in recent years was a Badminton cabinet that was crafted during the Medici years in Florence. Antique furnishings can tell a story one that may only exist in the imagination of the lucky person acquiring the piece. These are an often overlooked method of determining the age of an antique the builder is telling you when it was constructed! Lacquer has been applied to wood furniture for centuries, and if the piece you're inspecting claims to have the original finish, you may be able to date the piece quite easily. Other than what might be needed structurally, it is often difficult to find a straight element in Rococo Revival furniture.

Antique Furniture is one of the most fascinating sections of antique collecting. The use of marble for tabletops was quite popular, but expect to find the corners shaped to conform to the overall scrolling form. Look for Gothic arches, Chinese fretwork, columns, capitals, C-scrolls, S-scrolls, ribbons, flowers, leaves, scallop shells, gadrooning and acanthus leaves.

How to Date Furniture by Casters

This is a type of turned foot, consisting of a rounded saucer-shaped top with larger turning in the middle that then narrows to a smaller turned end. Your guide to antique pottery marks, porcelain marks and china marks. The first screws were crafted in the s by blacksmiths using square nail stock that was heated and pounded until it was somewhat round. The motifs used for inlay included bellflowers, urns, festoons, acanthus leaves and pilasters, to name but a few. If you know the manufacturer of your furniture, you'll be more likely to get an accurate idea of its price.

Identifying Antique Furniture
Tips for Dating Old Pieces Made in America

Once lacquer hits the century mark it tends to turn quite dark. Here is an oak cylinder roll desk from about with keyhole dovetailed drawers. Former architectural periods found most furniture placed against the outside perimeter of the walls and brought forward to be used.

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