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Determining the age of antiques is half the fun! Other brass hardware can be an indicator of age as well. If your piece is seeing this darkening effect, you're safe to assume that the piece is at least years old. Examining these elements individually, as well as furniture pieces in their entirety, will help you learn to correctly date them. But there are a number of other factors to consider as well, including the tools that were used to craft a piece and what the individual components look like.

How to Date Old Chairs
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Tips for Dating Old Pieces Made in America

How to Date Furniture by Casters

  • As you examine the piece, sleuth for clues that support your initial theory that you have a piece of authentic period furniture.
  • Phillips screws shouldn't be anywhere on the chair if it is truly old as these have been around only since the s.
  • How to Determine the Age of Antique Furniture.
  • But, many of the original wood components may have been refinished leaving original paint deep in the wood's pores.

Combining this dating process with several other techniques will help you make an accurate age determination. Lacquer has been applied to wood furniture for centuries, and if the piece you're inspecting claims to have the original finish, you may be able to date the piece quite easily. Antique furniture styles are still in use today and many reproductions exist. The wear and tear of a piece of furniture also helps to tell its age. In the s, synthetic materials such as upholstery foam and fiberfill entered the scene.

Check out the back of the chair. The monopodium foot also appears on sofas, chairs and case pieces. Examples featuring a metal claw gripping a glass ball are also common, especially in occasional tables and stools.

Dovetails have long been a popular method for attaching two pieces of wood at a degree angle often seen in drawer construction. Look for the edge to be worn down and rounded. While you may not have an example as extreme as that sitting in your garage, you never know what you may unearth as you determine the age and value of your antique. Look for discoloration from hot bowls and spilled liquids on dining tables. As discussed above, this is especially evident on the back or underside of pieces made prior to the mids.

Determine the Age of Antique Furniture

How to Determine the Age of Antique Furniture

This is sometimes called a drake foot. Look at how the handles and hinges were fastened onto the piece. They are sometimes referred to as a Dutch foot or spoon foot. While it is possible that an owner replaced the knobs on an antique with more modern units, best free messaging you'll most likely be able to tell.

How to Date Furniture by Casters

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Looking at the bottom or back of a piece, or inside its doors and drawers, can provide important clues about whether or not a piece of old furniture was machine cut or crafted by hand. This foot type has been popular almost continuously, in variations, since it was introduced in the s. Fabric that is original on your antique can provide serious clues of its age.

If you think that you have something really valuable on hand, or you just want to make sure that you have the best estimate as to the age of an antique hire an expert! If you have a piece with brasses, it's most likely pres or a revival piece from the late s on. From the s up until the Eastlake period in the s, brass hardware fell out of favor in furniture manufacture and was sparsely used.

How to Date Old Chairs

Chairs with exaggerated proportions, winged splats, shell motifs, and trifid feet were all characteristic of the sophisticated furniture made in colonial Philadelphia. It is usually found on case pieces. It is basically a more squat version of a ball foot, flattened slightly on top and wider at the bottom. This type of turned furniture foot, separated from the leg by a ring, is basically cylindrical in shape although it swells out slightly and then tapers down to a plain point.

It should have a bit of scarring to show for its time. If you see one large dovetail, the piece could be early eighteenth century. These are sometimes referenced as tulip feet. Are there nicks from it being banged against walls for many years?

How to Tell the Age of Antique Furniture

  1. This is a simple, basic furniture foot style with a square or cube-like shape.
  2. The ball foot is one of the earliest, most basic types of furniture foot styles.
  3. Oak is highly popular in furniture that dates from to earlier years.
  4. This can mean that they were handcrafted prior to or so.

Identifying Antique Furniture Foot Styles

McRae has written articles for multiple websites, drawing on her experience in the home improvement industry and hydroponic gardening. Are they more worn than the rest of the piece? How a piece is constructed is a common measure of age. The most expensive antique furniture piece sold in recent years was a Badminton cabinet that was crafted during the Medici years in Florence.

Manufacturers have been stamping their wares for centuries. Silk, wool, and cotton have been spun and woven into a variety of damasks, satins, dating someone way shorter than and brocades with many different patterns. Look for authentically worn or distressed stamps or manufacturer burn marks. Measure the tabletop from top to bottom and from left to right.

How to Date Antique Furniture

Manually operated hand saws left a straighter pattern in comparison. Does the type of screw or nail correspond with the era the style of hardware represents? One of the most basic furniture foot examples, this style named for its actual resemblance to a bracket. Some pieces, like chairs, online dating background may have matching dolphin arms and feet.

Style Sometimes style is enough to tell how old a chair is, especially if that style was only popular for a short time. Real lacquer changes color after time. Kathy Adams is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer who traveled the world handling numerous duties for music artists. Sometimes it is referenced as a console leg. Years and years of handling and contact with skin oils should leave a patina on both the handles and the surrounding wood.

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It was especially popular in ornate Regency, Empire and Biedermeier styles. The hardware on your furniture can be used to date the piece, providing it is original hardware. In the s, this stamp was often placed under the seat or inside a back leg. This is one of the quickest and most definitive ways to accurately determine the age of an antique piece of furniture. Shelly McRae is a freelance writer residing in Phoenix, Ariz.

Determining the age of antique furniture is not an exact science, but there are certain indicators of age evident in furniture. Sometimes style is enough to tell how old a chair is, especially if that style was only popular for a short time. The spade foot style has a rectangular shape that is wide at the top tapering to a narrower base. This is a rounded, james and nadine turned furniture foot style in a variation of the bun foot. Look at the craftsmanship of the dovetails.

How to Tell the Age of Antique Furniture

After finding a few, you'll likely be able to narrow down the general era the chair was made. This is a type of turned foot, consisting of a rounded saucer-shaped top with larger turning in the middle that then narrows to a smaller turned end. If the screws look newer or the style of the hardware differs from the style of the rest of the piece, the hardware is no longer a good indicator.

Identifying Antique Furniture Foot Styles

There is some detective work to be done if you want to really ensure that the antique is real, and a qualified inspector should be hired if you're spending any appreciable sum of money. Once lacquer hits the century mark it tends to turn quite dark. Honing your wood identification skills can really pay off in this area.

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