Dating furniture by hardware
Thomas Chippendales "Gentleman and Cabinet Makers Director", published in three editions (1754, 1755 and1762) had a major influence on mid-18th C. In as much as he applied popular Rocco, Chinoiserie and Gothic design motifs to already fashionable shapes for both grand and simple household furniture. Chair makers at all levels - London, provincial and country adapted and modified their designs to suit their own skills, and their customers tastes and pockets.Country versions are instantly identifiable when made in woods than Mahogany.Joinery Three clearly distinct drawer joints have been used on quality furniture: hand-cut dovetails, pin-and-scallop joints and machine-cut dovetails.Hand-cut dovetails are the oldest and are usually easy to identify.How a drawer is constructed and the woods used is revealing, but there are two important caveats. Seldom does one clue provide confirmation of anything.Also important are style (including hardware), shrinkage, nails, screws, locks, the primary and secondary woods used, the type of finish, tell-tale tool marks, areas of wear and general appearance.Over the years of working on hundreds of pieces of antique furniture, I’ve developed a quick and fairly accurate system for dating and determining the origin of any piece of furniture containing drawers. Construction Drawer construction has changed several times in the last 200 years.
In addition, the wood used for the drawer sides and bottoms helps determine whether the furniture is American or European.
Another way of dating furniture is by looking at the design of the legs and feet of tables, chairs etc.
from the "cup and cover" of the Elizabethan furniture, most notable on the four poster and tester beds of the period, to the sweeping shape of the sabre legs from the Regency period.
Usually in brass attached with bolts and circular nuts (fitted with a special tool) until about 1770; after that they became square.
Some early pieces still with bail handles with pierced backplates, but generally after 1740, simple swan-neck designs were common, with two separate circular and variously decorated roses.
The size of the pins and tails is typically uneven, with the pins commonly narrower than the tails.