How to identify antique furniture?

stringbeanieSeptember 14, 2007

There are certain things I would like to know about idenifying antique furniture. I know how to identify furniture by the style of legs,type of screws, etc.......THe items I don't know and cannot find a good resource are....what year's were various casters made. wood wheel casters, brass casters etc. What dates did black stencils become a way to identify furniture?? What about chalk writing on the underside of antique furniture?

Is there a good book that gives the answers or does anyone on this forum have the knowledge? I have googled my brain out trying to find answers.

One more thing. why and when was gilt paint used on picture frames, various metals etc.?

Thanks to all.


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None of those questions can be answered definitivly.
Leg styles were while Chippendale made his signature the cabriole leg with the carved foot,a nd Hepplewhite the dainty squared off leg, others made them and they were used by makers and manufacturers for decades and centuries.
When the industrial revolution came about and there came to be "manufactured furniture" instead of furniture hand made by a cabinetmaker, the furniture began to be made with some machined screws and nails...but some furniture continued to be hand made....and still is.
The stencil indicated the piece is factory made....and the chalk could have happened at any a mover last year.
Gilt also has been used since Roman times and likely earlier.
There are no easy cheat have to study and learn. There is no substitute for experience.
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 14, 2007 at 11:33AM
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thanks for answering. Yes stencils were used by factory's. what year were stencils first used?
Years for differant types of casters.....wood, brass, steel, etc.?

yes, chalk writings can/could be used at any time, but was there a time this practice was most prevelant??

Maybe there is no book that gives this type of info. I am kinda knowledgable about dating nails, saw marks, dowels etc. Its the small stuff like furniture wheels.

okay this might sound a bit nuts. When an antique piece of furniture comes without its casters....Just wanna be sure I know which ones to get.
Anyone have anything to add???


    Bookmark   September 15, 2007 at 10:18AM
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Fred Taylor is considered an expert in the field of antique furniture (well, besides those gorgeous Keno brothers that is...) He made a video "Identification of Older & Antique Furniture" which is a great resource. I was fortunate enough to attend an antiques conference a few years ago and I learned so much from him. Also, if you eventually want some "heavier" reading, try Albert Sack's Fine Points of Furniture, which is like the Furniture Bible. It is not cheap--but is one of my favorites.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 10:09PM
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Thanks for the resource information.


    Bookmark   September 19, 2007 at 5:09PM
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If you specifically want antique furniture of a centain type such as American oak, I would suggest dealing with reputable dealers who can authenticate the pieces. I have several pieces which fall in that catagory. If on the other hand you wish to be able to spot pieces at tag sales and flea markets, it's a real crap shoot. You also need to understand the difference between old and antique. I have a beautiful mahogany secretary from the 40ties. That's old. I also have a marvelous solid cherry gate leg table circa 1835. It is a verafiable antique purchased from a dealer in New Hampshire. You need to decide if you are purchasing for your home or for resale. If the latter, you really need to know what you are doing. I have been dealing for 40 years and I just have a second sense about these things. Don't know Linda C. but suppose she is the same way.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2007 at 10:09AM
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I am wondering if anyone would be able to give me a guestimate of the value of the antique couches below. Or would it just depend on where they were placed for sale? We live in a small rural area, so there is not much demand around here for these pieces. If you can help at all, thank you.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2007 at 11:05PM
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Might someone know the year/value of this piece? Obtained it from my uncle and have someone interested in purchasing it. Id love to give my uncle the fair value of it and not simply; give it away... Thx

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 11:26PM
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SuburbanReStyle - Are the flowers handpainted or a decal?

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 1:38PM
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