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Antique American Furniture: A Frank Discourse

Thomas Mulninert is said to have crafted the oldest piece of American furniture, circa mid-17th century. He was a craftsman from the colony of New Haven. Professional furniture building didn’t really become prominent in America until later in the 17th century, however. The styles of furniture made in America are quite distinct to their eras and collectors are often partial to one style.

The Pilgrim Era (1640-1690)

Furniture that was large and heavy in style, with wooden pegs that held together the joints. These pieces are typically made from oak or pine and are extremely hard to find today. Someone who is interested in purchasing authentic 17th century furniture should do their research and find a reputable company to deal with.


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The William and Mary Era (1700-1730)

Greatly contrasts with the pilgrim style of old. There was heavy relief in the wood and very ornate designs that set it far apart from other conservative pieces. That, coupled with a lot of polishing made it seem almost decadent. William and Mary furniture was usually made with maple, pine, or walnut.

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Queen Anne furniture (1725-1755)

This is highly sought by collectors the world over. It is known for its intricate scrollwork and heavy lacquer. Mahogany walnut or cherry was a typical wood used for Queen Anne furniture. Unfortunately for collectors, a truly authentic piece is extremely rare. If someone you know claims to have Queen Anne furniture, it is very likely to be a copy.

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Chippendale furniture (1755-1790)

This is another style that is often duplicated in order to be passed off as the real thing, so would-be collectors should take heed. Named for its designer, Thomas Chippendale, its combination of French rococo, Gothic, and Oriental style makes for exquisite furniture. Thomas Chippendale was so revolutionary that many people mistakenly refer to any piece of 18th century furniture as “Chippendale”.

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Mid-century modern furniture is a style of furniture designed by some of the greatest designers and architects of the past century between 1933 and 1965. Designers such as Charles and Ray Eames, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Arne Jacobsen and Florence Knoll and many others defined the mid-century modern era. Till date, such furniture styles are considered classics and unlikely to ever go out of style. Authentic pieces can be purchased through Design within Reach. High end reproductions which match 80% of the quality at 20% of the price can be found by visiting here.

There are many specialists in the area of American antique furniture, should buyers become interested. Researching and consulting is best before any purchases are made. Unfortunately, people in the antiques business will attempt to take advantage of novice collectors. However, traversing the antique world is all worth it for some truly beautiful furniture.


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