How can you tell when a piece of furniture was made?

Be sure to look for labels, stamps, or manufacturing labels that can indicate when and where a part was manufactured. Companies and furniture manufacturers typically include their names, locations, and year of production. This information can be found inside the drawers, on the back of the offices and on the lower edges of the pieces. Take a look at the carpentry (the places in the furniture where the pieces are joined together).

Look at the bottom or back of a piece or the inside of its doors and drawers. This can provide important clues as to whether an antique piece of furniture was machine cut or handmade. Sometimes, even after a lot of research, it's still difficult to determine who made that antique dresser or dining table. In such cases, taking the piece, or at least photographs of it, to a dealer specializing in furniture from the time will help determine who manufactured it.

The experience of a distributor means that it is likely that you have found a piece with similar characteristics, or that you have at least heard of furniture like yours, at some point in your career. It can be difficult to distinguish the type of wood or the finish used on a piece of furniture, but these are important clues. But because the same woods have always been preferred for furniture, workmanship and finish are probably a better indicator of age than the wood itself. Johnson pointed out that between 1895 and 1940 artists and furniture manufacturers used more than 1300 brands (or trademarks) in the Arts & Crafts movement alone, and that doesn't include the brands of the hundreds of other furniture manufacturers.

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