Clarke Bros & Co. Victorian Furniture IDENTIFICATION

old_house_j_i_mFebruary 14, 2010

Hi all - I usually spend most of my time in the old houses forum since restoring the house is the biggest priority right now. But, recently, I picked up a small antique I would love to find out more about.

Check out the photos of both my little Victorian Ebonized Music Cabinet and the photos from the E & R Dubrow reference book on late American Made Victorian furniture. Luckily, I found my little cabinet in the book listed as item number 265 by the Clarke Bros. & Co. furniture makers. I cant find anything out about them and the book doesn't list any information on this company - like where they were located, when they were in existence, or likewise.

Here is a link to the photos of the cabinet and a page from the book:

http://thejoshuashivelyhouse.blogspot.com/2010/02/ebonized-music-cabinet.html

I'm going to try to write to the publisher, Schiffer books, to see if they might be able to assist, but thought I'd throw this out to the GardenWeb community to see if any of you know anything about it.

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Ideefixe

Cute.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to blog

    Bookmark   February 14, 2010 at 2:00PM
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moonshadow

Here's a stereoview storage carrier with mark containing same spelling, but this also has Cincinnati on it.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2010 at 9:07PM
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old_house_j_i_m

THANKS moonshadow. Interestingly, since posting this question, I found an entry on the Univ. of Idaho Web site for a Charles Clarke who worked for Clarke Bros furniture of Cincinnati - your reply leads me to believe this is probably the same firm. I have actually found quite a few antique furniture pieces in the Louisville/Southern Ohio region that I can identify on the Clarke Bros pages of the Dubrow reference book. Kind of makes sense if the company was in Cincy. Thanks so much for that link - its good to see their stamp on something.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 9:14AM
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moonshadow

Oh, you're welcome! I always get a kick out of trying to track something down. ;) If I get a chance to look some more and find anything I'll post back. Or if you find out more I'd be curious to know!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 5:43AM
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old_house_j_i_m

this is crazy ... I ever saw one of these before I got mine, and now there is one on eBay - identical (ok, lol, mines in better condition)

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=360235296977&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 2:33PM
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karinl

That happens so often on my local craigslist. Something I've never seen before comes up, and suddenly there are three of them. Then, nothing like them is seen again for months or years. I can only conclude that people who own those things have similar rhythms in their lives or something.

I like the point on your blog about machine vs. hand made. Something that has also struck me is that handmade had a whole different meaning when the tools used were also handmade. There was a whole lot of ingenuity and skill back then that I just don't feel we have anymore... maybe that's part of the charm of those old things.

KarinL

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 2:12PM
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igloochic

You would probably get a lot better information at a web site called "rarevictorian". They focus on victorian furnishings and are a wealth of information both in their threads and what you can find reading articles they've written. It's a great website for anyone collecting victorian furnishings.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 2:02PM
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moonshadow

Wow, ohjim, lol, what are the odds?! I've seen what KarinL mentions, usually for something I'm looking for. Dry for months or years and then all of a sudden an appearance of multiples. ;)

That's a very nice site you mentioned ichic, I checked it out and bookmarked it.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 7:36PM
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lisatutt_gmail_com

I just came across your post while doing some family history research. My great-grandfather was Robert E. Clarke, and in 1874 when he was about 19 he set up a business with his slightly older brother George in Brooklyn where they lived. They called themselves "Clarke Bros. & Co." and had what they called a "Bracket Store" located on Fulton Street at the junction of Flatbush Avenue. I believe they published at least this one catalog (dated Fall 1875) which can be seen in its entirety, digitized on-line at http://www.archive.org/details/illustratedcatal00clar

The business doesn't seem to have lasted beyond 1877. The family had left Brooklyn by 1878 and Robert became an actor and elocution teacher. I don't know what became of George. And, unfortunately, I don't know any more about this bracket & furniture business, but would like to!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 5:08PM
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