Can anyone date this dresser?

HeelsDownOctober 9, 2012

Hello all,

Been a lurker for awhile, but now have a reason to join in the discussion! I purchased a dresser at an auction near my home on the weekend. I live about 2 hrs west of Toronto in a small town and the auction was in a village even smaller about 10 minutes away. The house was also being sold and it dates to 1910. Many of the items sold with the house were just as old too, but I'm not sure on this dresser.

It is maple (confirmed) and has dovetailed joints in the drawer, but that's my limit of knowledge.

I'll give a link to the pictures rather than post them b/c there are 11. :)

It is likely that it could be made by the family that sold the house or even local Mennonites too.

Either way, I think it will look great in my 117 year old house and regardless of how old it is, I love it and it was a steal at $2!

I'm hoping to figure out the age so it can help guide how I restore it.



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$2 ?!?!?

It looks like a totally abused piece from somewhere between 1900 and 1950 ... there's nothing that makes it distinctively one era or another.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 4:06PM
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Fori is not pleased

I don't know but I'd love to see it once you're done! Is it veneered where it seems to be peeling on the side?

Is there a giant cat in your home? :P

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 4:43PM
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The first piece you buy at auction is always are now hooked!

But this piece has some serious issues!! Looks seriously water damaged to me, that warped top will not be easy to fix, and the veneer on one side panel is pretty well toast.
It will be a huge task to restore that....and when you are through you will have a machine made, rather ordinary 1940-ish piece.

I suggest you remove the drawers and do something creative with them....and junk the rest. To straighten that top you will have to remove it from the case, remove all finish from both sides, then selectivly dampen the concave side and dry the convex side until it's flat......then quickly varnish both sides to stabilize the water content. And what will you do about the peeling veneer?. The dark water spots can be bleached with oxalic it worth it?
Spend your time restoring an abused neat old something....not a 1940-ish machine made chest.
Linda C

Here is a link that might be useful: dresser

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 5:42PM
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I'm going out on a limb and suggest that this piece is probably 1920s. It is factory made and it has major issues.

That doesn't mean that if you love it, you can't salvage it for use if you are comfortable it is going to have.......uhm........character. I usually cringe when somebody gets on this forum and says they want to paint an antique, or make it 'shabby chic'. I could see this one with the rest of the veneer yanked, painted antique white with hand painted trim and holding plants in a sun-room. I do not think it's worth the effort to return it to its former 'glory', however.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 1:36AM
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The pieced back makes it earlier than later.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 9:06AM
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Exactly, and the paneled sides as well. This is a common way to finish off the backs of old dressers. That is the way one of my chests is finished off I can date to first decade 1900s and another dresser I can date to the 1890s.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 3:34PM
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I have a early 1900s cabinet with a pieced back, an 1890s Art Nouveau piece with the original 1-piece thin plywood back, and also had one from the 1950s with a pieced back.

The mark of the shield or whatever it was on the center drawer baffles me ... That would indicate that you have something that had a glued-on applique as was common in the 1920s and 30s.

Are the knobs the original? Someone may have removed the brasses from a 1940s "colonial" piece and replaced them with knobs to look more country. Check for screw scars and wear marks.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 12:17PM
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It isn't cut in stone about the back finish, but is typical enough to be a red flag. The side panels to me are more indicative. The design on the front was what led me to say 20s in the first place, and it is not at all unheard of for 20s pieces to have wooden knobs on dressers.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 12:21PM
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Thanks everyone! Seems to maybe be from the 20s from what I'm reading? Safe assumption? I'll check the knobs tonight and see if there is any scars or holes and maybe do a close up of the applique thingy.

It's amusing as before I posted, I didn't think it was in all that bad of shape lol! Now, reading some of these comments, it's become YIKES! :) I'm still going to try to do something with it. I really like it for some reason, and I've been on the lookout for a dresser for quite some time and it's the first I actually wanted. It's just going in my guest room so doesn't even really need to have the drawers functional. All my relatives are not invited long enough to unpack haaaaa! Kiddin'!

Yep, totally addicted to auctions now too!

My giant cat's name is Bert lol - good eye...I had to take a few different shots b/c he kept sticking his nose right in the picture so that was the winner :)

Thanks all! Back soon!


    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 5:43PM
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I purchased a old secretary that had some veneer damage. I stripped off the crazy warped veneer and painted it. (The finish was beyond repair) and it turned out really beautiful. It was inside the secretary that was badly damaged, but I covered it up with vintage looking French postcards. (Used Annie Sloan paint in Duck Egg blue for the outside)
Paint-distress-age wax and you will have something with character and beauty!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 1:29PM
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Okay so it's been awhile, but we finally tackled our dresser that I first asked about last year.

We couldn't salvage the top due to the water damage so we made a new top out of salvaged barn board. The same deal with the "skin's" on each side. They came off, but we really liked how it looked underneath so we kept it plain. Sanded the entire thing then added a coat of polyurethane. After that, I had planned on staining it a walnut colour, but the colour that came up was so nice (and so far off the original green-ish colour), that I left it at that. It only had 3 wood knobs left, which we replaced with some nice glass ones. Since it's not really original anymore anyhow, we thought they added some pizazz to it esp since the colour of the glass matches the tone of the wood.

We love it! It was nice to save from being thrown out and giving it a new life. :) And, it's still nicer and cheaper than most of the new crap in stores today!

Once again, I'll give the link so there are a few pics.

On to the next piece...I see why people get addicted to rehab lol;authkey=Gv1sRgCOi5y6DakqCXLg&feat=directlink


    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 10:38PM
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the link did not work, wish I could see it!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 7:09AM
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Here it is from the Decorating Forum

Here is a link that might be useful: $2 Dresser

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 10:05PM
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Wow-- that looks fabulous now!!!!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 9:49PM
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