The tips were blunt in these oldest screws, and each one was unique. Feet and chair spindles were also carved individually, so there is no way each one could possibly look identical. They are sometimes referred to as a Dutch foot or spoon foot. 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. But there are a number of other factors to consider as well, dating nurses online including the tools that were used to craft a piece and what the individual components look like.
The monopodium foot also appears on sofas, chairs and case pieces. 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. This furniture foot style consists of a tapered cylinder that is separated from the leg by a turned ring. If you have a piece with brasses, what dating site it's most likely pres or a revival piece from the late s on.
Antique and Vintage Dressers
- This foot type has been popular almost continuously, in variations, since it was introduced in the s.
- This is a type of carved furniture foot in the shape of a fish head.
- Other brass hardware can be an indicator of age as well.
- It wasn't until this time that sophisticated jigs and cutters were built to automate this process.
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. It is usually found on case pieces. Dovetails have long been a popular method for attaching two pieces of wood at a degree angle often seen in drawer construction. As discussed above, this is especially evident on the back or underside of pieces made prior to the mids. Once lacquer hits the century mark it tends to turn quite dark.
Some classics are still being made today. Dovetail joints often hold two boards together in a box or drawer, almost like interlocking the fingertips of your hands. It is usually found on heavy case pieces, especially of Germanic or Dutch origin. The earliest examples are from furniture placed with mummies in Egypt thousands of years ago, and also in the burials of ancient Chinese emperors. Silk, wool, and cotton have been spun and woven into a variety of damasks, satins, and brocades with many different patterns.
This over-view of the dovetailing techniques should easily help identification and dating of most furniture from the last years. The type of dovetailed joint, especially in drawers, reveals much about furniture construction and dating. This lavishly hand-carved cabinet from about shows structural dovetail joints on the back side. This is a furniture foot style in which a simple, flattened oval-shaped block of wood rests on a disk or pad. It is not a solid carved piece but created by applying pieces of wood to the bottom of a square, tapered leg.
How to Identify Antique Dressers
The backs of this type of hardware were often left with the impression of the sand while the surfaces were polished. 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. It has been widely used since then. But, it is important to determine which type of wood is most prevalent in your antique to help determine the age. If you think that you have something really valuable on hand, or you just want to make sure that you have the best estimate as to the age of an antique hire an expert!
Real lacquer changes color after time. Sheep Collection purchases are excluded. From the s up until the Eastlake period in the s, brass hardware fell out of favor in furniture manufacture and was sparsely used. Hand made screws and nails were relatively expensive and could rust and expand, sometimes cracking the wood they secured. It is sometimes called a French bracket foot, in fact.
That is what makes this field so exciting for newcomers and veterans alike. Glues of the period sometimes weakened. How to Determine the Age of Antique Furniture. These were cut with a jig or pattern, and an apprentice could create a very well fitting and attractive joint. The ball foot is one of the earliest, most basic types of furniture foot styles.
Keep in mind, wood components can be replaced and this may affect your ability to determine the exact age of a piece. This is one of the easiest ways to provide a fairly accurate date stamp to any antique. It is usually plain, even if the attached leg is fluted as shown in this example. These are an often overlooked method of determining the age of an antique the builder is telling you when it was constructed!
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. Antique furnishings can tell a story one that may only exist in the imagination of the lucky person acquiring the piece. Some popular antiques are quite well documented and may be tied to a specific time period in history making an age determination quite simple. Combining this dating process with several other techniques will help you make an accurate age determination.
How to Identify Antique Dressers
Tiny angled saw cuts were followed by careful cutting by a sharpened chisel on both sides to avoid splintering. It is basically a more squat version of a ball foot, flattened slightly on top and wider at the bottom. Manually operated hand saws left a straighter pattern in comparison. Dovetails have great strength, summer winter holding pieces of wood in perfect alignment over long periods of time.
If your piece is seeing this darkening effect, you're safe to assume that the piece is at least years old. When hand planes were used to smooth woods, they more often than not left some sort of uneven surface. Machine made furniture produced largely after will have components that match more perfectly than those made by hand. Moving into the s, maple and cherry showed up in fine furniture manufacture quite often. The slow and laborious crafting and carving, one piece at a time, by a master woodworker was not suited to the new mass market.
It is sometimes called a knurl toe. These routers were ancestors of the electric precision tools of today, and could be used to rapidly cut a machined dovetail joint. Chairs with exaggerated proportions, winged splats, shell motifs, ann arbor dating sites and trifid feet were all characteristic of the sophisticated furniture made in colonial Philadelphia. This can mean that they were handcrafted prior to or so. Oak is highly popular in furniture that dates from to earlier years.
Usually has a mitered corner embellishment. This is one of the quickest and most definitive ways to accurately determine the age of an antique piece of furniture. Examples featuring a metal claw gripping a glass ball are also common, especially in occasional tables and stools. This is sometimes called a drake foot. 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.
The use of hand tools and hand-cut dovetails is now the province of hobbyists and a few small shops creating authentic replicas of antique furniture. It is a variation of the club foot, distinguished by the underlying disk. As the dovetail joint evolved through the last one hundred thirty years, it becomes a clue for the age and authenticity of antique furniture. Sometimes referred to as a spool foot.
Dovetails - A Clue for Dating Antiques - The Harp Gallery
When the joint is expertly executed, it is a thing of beauty, and a secure joining of two boards that can last for centuries. It is bulb-shaped with a slender neck, usually has a ring on top, and bulges outward before tapering down into a round collar or base. Fabric that is original on your antique can provide serious clues of its age. 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?
Several good books covering early American furniture history are available online or at local bookstores. Use them as a starting point and one possible indicator of age rather than making a conclusion based only on the foot style. Sometimes it is referenced as a console leg. Sometimes referenced as a melon foot. The most expensive antique furniture piece sold in recent years was a Badminton cabinet that was crafted during the Medici years in Florence.
How to Determine the Age of Antique Furniture
- Cuts and nicks can also leave proof that hand chisels and other tools operated with sheer elbow grease were used to shape woods.
- Can you circa date solely on the type of wood used?
- Determining the age of antique furniture is the first step in establishing a proper valuation, as well as verifying that the piece is indeed an authentic furnishing from the era in question.
- Author Ken Melchert has taught Art History for many years.
- More than likely, you will discover that you own a later revival piece although it's awfully fun to dream big when you begin your research.
- The presence of brass hardware at all also tells a tale.
Identifying Antique Furniture Foot Styles
Steam power, transferred by pulleys and leather belts, operated saws, carving machines and routers that could copy an original pattern exactly. Hand cut dovetails were used to hold the sides of drawers together, but also to join the structural members of case furniture. For thousands of years, a dovetail joint was created by a skilled cabinetmaker using small, precision saws and wood chisels.