People want things that are prettier, less masculine and lighter. Jacob, one of the most famous of the 18th-century furniture makers.

Antique Furniture Manufacturer Marking Furniture

We are continually improving the quality of our text archives. It can be difficult to identify vintage and antique furniture. Checking the bottom of the desk and of the drawers might reveal a manufacturer’s stamp or seal. Here are some tips for how to identify those antique chairs you have.

This is a guide about identifying antique chairs. This is a guide about identifying an antique table. This is a guide about identifying a coffee table. They can also tell if any alterations have been made.

You could show your photos to any antique shops in your area or you might be able to obtain some information from an on-line appraiser.

I have been looking at side tables, stretcher, library, and sofa.

From the look and size of yours it may even be called a dresser vanity or even a man’s dressing table. Yours is a little unusual as it seems to be higher than most styles. Many styles are lower in the middle and have a matching chair or stool. Some of these can command a high price but that would have a lot to do with the condition also.

You might want to get an appraisal so you will know what you have. It almost looks like something you could roll around and serve desserts from like for a nursing home?

As for era, it looks to be a fairly modern construction of salvaged parts from various eras anywhere from late 19th to mid-20th century.

I say this because of the modern looking fixings on the glass (?) – if the doors are the plexiglass they look in the photo, that is also a clue to date of creation. It looks very much like the book shelves made in late 1800’s.

I have no idea what year it would be from. They used this type ofover sized storage instead of cabinets or closets. This one in the picture is a duplicate of what she had. Once you have that, you can more easily determine the value. April 16th / 1779” written in chalk on the inside bottom board of the lower case of the chest-on-chest illustrated in fig. These distinguishing marks wrest pieces of furniture from historical anonymity and transform them into representatives and artifactual evidence of specific places and/or times of manufacture and the products of particular people. No regulations governed where, when, or why any of the various kinds of marks were used on any given furniture form, although the type of mark and its purpose influenced placement. In fact, no single explanation describes the many functions labels and other marks served. They range from the personal and private to public roles. Important to furniture appreciation and history, makers’ marks also affect current market values, which in turn inspires the production of fakes. Occasionally, early furniture owners—as opposed to makers—marked their objects, but that practice also is not addressed here. However, the initials represented him and his wife. They were part of the chair’s ornament and conformed to broader practices of identifying owners of furniture, silver, and other valuable household furnishings with prominently displayed initials rather than trade practices of identifying the artisan. This mark looks as if it was created by striking one character at a time, rather than by striking a single multicharacter marking iron. The 1711 chest, therefore, may mark and celebrate his entry into the trade as a free artisan.

Tips and Tricks For Identifying Furniture Marked With Numbers

Manufacturer Marking Look When Buying Furniture

Regrettably, no further evidence enlightens the seemingly audacious act of a youngster setting his mark for the world to see. These differences effectively eliminate the possibility of the mark being that of an owner. Similarly, structural and ornamental variations indicate that several different chair makers were responsible for this seating. In the absence of any chronology, similarities and differences in wording among the various labels suggest a probable sequence. John inscribed and dated furniture by 1756, but his earliest handwritten label is dated nineteen years later (fig. In 1786 he penned the date on the first of many printed labels. Toward that end, some makers also described the products they sold or the services they provided. Shipley’s other label, simpler than the first but ornate by most standards, was engraved with the full address (fig. Historical evidence does not confirm whether it was printed before or after the inked example. It featured an inlaid fall-front desk and a shield-back side chair with five carved ribs (fig. Certain chalk or ink inscriptions written in visible places may have been intended to serve as advertising, but most were not. The duration of that venture is not known, although the two artisans married sisters. Multiple labels pasted to the same object occasionally mask more complex business relationships. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, large pieces of furniture were often crated for protection, but backs and bottoms were apparently left partially exposed and used as a surface for shipping instructions. In some examples, a named locale seems more logically a destination rather than a place of origin. Marking furniture according to destination has a long history, although not many objects have been so identified. Accordingly, they postulated a small but vital furniture-making community there, although evidence of any specific activity remains to be discovered. When the desk and bookcase are assembled, the inscription is invisible. This is a furniture maker’s message to other artisans, who would likely have seen the object when it was disassembled and temporarily stored, perhaps in a shop.

Antiques; The ‘Secrets’ Of French Furniture

The reason for the inscription is less apparent. The inscription can be seen only when the table frame is removed from the base, a task easily accomplished by unfastening the long iron bolt that joins the two parts. Although no specific dates accompany the earliest marked chairs, the numbers of stamps recorded and the variety of carved and caned seating suggests that the practice was well established. Presumably, journeymen in the employ of masters marked the chairs and other furniture forms they made with these small, unobtrusive stamps to document their productivity and receive proper compensation. Typically, these marks were two serif letters denoting first and last names of a furniture maker. Perhaps because brands or strike marks were small and cost-free to apply, they were occasionally stamped more than once onto the same piece of furniture. The tools used to impress these marks were made of iron or sometimes copper or brass. In any event, charred marks are very rare. Relatively few of the hundreds of recorded marks cite the cities where the maker worked. Even those bearing place names were often vague. Local makers could rely on word of mouth in most communities, perhaps augmented by occasional newspaper notices.

Those who sought distant markets used merchants or middlemen, whose own selling efforts eliminated the need for furniture labels as advertisements. Although the use of struck marks increased with expansion of the furniture export trade, the identities of some makers remain difficult to establish. Salem furniture makers in particular were not only active markers of their products, a practice that paralleled a thriving export trade, but also some of them left voluminous and revealing records. But partnerships did not necessarily preclude individual ventures, and makers employed multiple types of marks. Similarly, chalk inscriptions on furniture carcasses indicating “back,” “top,” or “bottom” were intended to be read after the object had been crated and was being handled by shippers. In addition, over the course of his long career, he used more than a dozen different paper labels, some of which include printed dates.

As with all stencil marks, its appearance was modeled on printed labels, although the stenciling process produced a much coarser image. Although stencils were used on many types of decorative arts, they never replaced paper labels on furniture. These distinctive forms of advertising were larger than labels and communicated more complex messages through ornate illustrations. The presence of makers’ labels and marks on a few pieces of that furniture has contributed value and interest—both historical and monetary—because of the information they contain. In either case, greater attention to the particulars of these markings results in more nuanced and accurate interpretations. It is on the small interior drawer of a desk. This label is later than the example illustrated in fig. Walnut with tulip poplar, white cedar, and yellow pine. April 16th / 1779” written in chalk on the inside bottom board of the lower case of the chest-on-chest illustrated in fig. These biographical references may describe more than one individual of that name. This unidentified symbol is “too deliberate to be an accident, although its meaning is at the moment obscure” (p. Inconsistent nail-hole patterns indicate that the backboards are not original to the looking-glass frame. The author does not illustrate the mark or describe further the furniture form.

Does anyone have a tip on how to use the numbers on furniture?

And then you hope that some helpful person recognizes something or everything and tells you what they know. Especially when the object gives me clues like numbers stamped on it.

I become obsessed with an object- need to win the identity war.

I appreciate the tips regarding numbers whether backwards or forwards possibly being date codes. Can anyone offer suggestions other than the numbers being possible date codes according to your own experiences of furniture with numbers?

The top number: if not a date code, is it correct to assume that it’s a number code that identifies this particular furniture item?

Would anyone surmise, even if only at first, that the stenciled numbers are possible evidence that the table belonged to a collection line?

My question to you is does it really matter that much that the item that caught your eye with a purpose in your life has unknown origins?

My home is full of both attributed and non-attributed objects.

I don’t always care to identify something- it’s enough just to love finding it and having it. But the bottom line purpose for this thread was simply to get a general education on the use of numbers on furniture not only to help identify this table but a better understanding of these numbers for future use. Does anyone have any clues about this buffet?

I can find no other marks anywhere on the piece. There is enough to see that both are american factory made pieces – going beyond that doesn’t seem worthwhile to me. Thanks to anyone that has information about this. Look at the hardware used in the furniture. Nails, screws and saws of different types and shapes came into use at different points in history. For example, screws were rarely used in furniture before 1830 and the circular saw did not exist until after that date. Therefore, an item built with these materials cannot be dated as an authentic piece before 1830. Educate yourself about the historical periods of furniture-making using a history book with plenty of pictures. It has swing-out legs from underneath the table top and it is about 3 ft. It has a metal claw on eachy foot, but no ball, just cut at end of table (foot) so the metal claw is just aniled on with small nails on each side. It is in good shape, but the top looked like it may have been det by window and was lighter than the legs. It has been painted but was wondering if anyone could tell me about the stamp and what year it could be. Did you find anything to identify it?

It is possible that there is some mahogany veneer on the fall front or drawer front.

I have a pair of side or end tables and they have a set of numbers stamped. When does refinishing antique furniture not affect the value?