• 17
    Oct

Murphy’s Law: Not All That Folds is a Murphy

Furniture can be quite cumbersome, especially in small quarters. Or even in big ones. In medieval times, the great room of an estate was a multifunction room, serving first as banquet hall then as recreation room. The banquet tables were merely planks placed across trestles and after the meal the whole assembly could quickly be […]

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  • 3
    Oct

Victorian Specialty Furniture: Wait in the Hall

The 19th century in the United States started out as period of major political strife with little attention to the development of furniture. Sure, there was the Federal period and the Empire period, but those were more adaptations to style than innovation in form. There were other things to worry about. There was the War […]

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  • 19
    Sep

Ask A Worthologist Question: ‘Bronze’ Cherub Lamps

Jeremy T. has a pair of “bronze” lamps that he picked up at a garage sale last year, but never did anything with them. They’ve been boxed away in his own garage since the day he brought them home. Now that it’s time to pare down his own overstuffed garage, Jeremy has decided to find […]

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  • 6
    Sep

Organic Threats Present Dangers to Your Furniture

There are lots of things in the world that are good for your older and antique furniture—controlled temperature and humidity, regular cleaning, careful use and loving attention. But there are also lots of things out there that are bad for your furniture—flood water, excess light, inappropriate polishes and fire are the most common—but there is […]

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  • 22
    Aug

Furniture Made to Fit the Social Function

I have mentioned many times that one definition of furniture is “functional art.” Furniture is almost an absolute requirement in today’s society. We must have chairs and beds, tables and sofas, bookcases and dressers, mirrors and desks. Those are forms of furniture that blend in with our everyday duties of living and working. They are […]

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  • 10
    Aug

The Furniture Detective: Old Brass – Or Is It?

When you read the catalog for an auction that will be presenting some genuine antique furniture, it’s always interesting to read the descriptions. Some the most alluring will describe a piece of furniture as having “original finish” or “original brasses.” That’s a real selling point when looking at a chest of drawers that may be […]

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  • 25
    Jul

Wicker Furniture: A Process, Not a Material

Everybody knows what wicker is. Right? It’s that woven stuff that’s painted white. It may even be that stuff used in some chair seats. Or is that cane? Or rush or reed? As it turns out, the word wicker in furniture terms actually refers to a process rather than a product. The process is the […]

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  • 25
    Jul

Ask A Worthologist Question: Oscar Bach Table

Walter F. picked up this table at a garage sale for $250. Its owner had said it was probably from the 1940s and that he’d just purchased it himself at a yard sale the year before from an older gentleman about 80 who was clearing his house and moving to Florida. The owner didn’t really […]

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  • 11
    Jul

‘Novelty’ Furniture Helped American Manufacturing Survive the Great Depression

Have you ever picked up a book about American 20th-century furniture and marveled at the number of seemingly “non-furniture” items included in the pages? If you look around homes and estates originally furnished in the 1920s and 1930s, you might see many of the same items stashed away in nooks and crannies. The same holds […]

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  • 20
    Jun

Antiques Auction Forum: Allan Breed & 18th-Century Cabinetry

In this week’s podcast, I visit with master craftsman Allan Breed at his shop & School of Fine Woodworking in Rollinsford, N.H. We talked about the construction of period American furniture, carving and early American apprenticeships. Of all cabinetmakers in the U.S., Allan was selected to make an exact copy of the most important piece […]

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