How old is my furniture

cosmikcatJuly 8, 2008

Hi All

My husband and I recently purchased some antique furniture for our house. We bought this sofa/chair combo. I'm wondering how old they are.

I was told that they belonged to the sellers grandparents who had recently passed away. They were reupholstered in the 1950s. The original upholstery was a red velvet plush.

They have the low legs and curved arm look of deco furniture but the ornate carving seems more Victorian. I was guessing maybe 1920s for this but don't really know. Do you?

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I don't know for sure....but am guessing you are right...could also be 20 to 30 years earlier too.
nice! Looks comfy!
Linda C

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 1:28AM
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Certainly very pretty. Apropos of nothing, one of my favorite title cards from the silent film era read:

"If it were not for New York Hotels, where would elopers, divorcees and red plush furniture go?"

It's from a Mary Pickford film, 1921, called "Through the Back Door".

Any chance you'd go back to red plush?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 3:42PM
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I think the pieces are terrific! My guess would be that they date from the late 20s to the mid 30s. They have that marvelous "fat", rounded look that many Art Deco pieces have, and they have the sort of carving and ornate detail that would make them more attractive to people purchasing "new" furniture at that time. People who may have liked the rounded form of Art Deco but been "scared off" by the rather austere, "clean" lines of more pure Art Deco.

I'd pick a nice fabric with some nap (velveteen, chenille, etc.) and I'd avoid prints or a detailed jacquard. The beauty of the pieces is the SHAPE and show wood! There is no need to "guild the lily" with those beauties.

If they were recovered in the '50s, you should prepare yourself that simply recovering the existing upholstery (webbing, springs, etc.) may be throwing good money after bad. Be prepared to bite the bullet and have them completely "ripped down" and rebuilt; new webbing, new ties on original springs; reworked from the frame up (insist that any horsehair padding be REUSED!!). Webbing and the spring ties wear out and quite literally ROT with time and use. 50+ yrs. is a long time under constant use. They're definitely due for a "rebuild". So be prepared. But do it; I did and couldn't be more delighted with the results.

They are wonderful pieces and worth every dime of the work required to bring them into the present. What a "find"!!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 2:19PM
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I took a look in my 1928 Montgomery Wards catalog and it has living room sets with a similar look, although I think your set is of much higher quality.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 12:46PM
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Thanks for all the info everybody. I'm thinking my 20s guess was pretty close. I have a 1920s house so its nice to have furniture from the original era.

That quote is really funny. And the ubiquitous red plush is one of the reasons that I thought the set might be from that era.

And don't worry chelone, I won't do anything too horrible with these. I've seen far too many inappropriate 1980s pastel flower reupholstering jobs on beautiful deco furniture to ever do that. I prefer the deeper colors and more plain upholstery in any case.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 2:19PM
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When I first saw the picture of your furniture. It reminded me of the sofa and chair Barbra Streisand auctioned off at Christy's. It was kind of a drab red and once belonged to Mary Pickford or Sarah Burnheart, according to her interview.

Very cute Ideefix!


    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 11:13PM
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i just got these brass headboard and footboard i dont know anything about it

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 6:42PM
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