Dating a piece of furniture can be a difficult task, as many pieces of furniture do not have any markings or labels that would give you an indication of its age. There are, however, a few things you can look for that may help you in your quest to date your piece of furniture.
One thing to look at is the style of the piece. Different styles were popular in different periods, so by looking at the overall style of the piece you may be able to get a general idea of when it was made. Another thing to look at is the type of wood used. Certain types of wood were used more commonly in certain periods, so this can also give you a clue as to the age of the piece. Finally, take a close look at any hardware on the piece (e.g., handles, hinges). The style and materials used for hardware changed over time as well, so this can provide another helpful clue in dating your furniture.
Examine Bottoms, Insides, and Backs
How to Date a Piece of Furniture
Determining the age of a piece of furniture can be a tricky proposition. There are a number of factors that can contribute to the overall appearance of a piece, and many times these clues are not immediately obvious. In order to get the most accurate estimation possible, it is important to take a close look at all aspects of the furniture in question. Here are some things to keep in mind when attempting to date a piece of furniture:
1) Examine the bottoms, insides, and backs of pieces. These areas will often give away telltale signs of age and wear that may not be immediately apparent from looking at the front or top surfaces. Pay close attention to any cracks, splits, or other damage that may be present; these can often help narrow down when a piece was made or used extensively.
2) Check for any labels or stamps that may be present on the furniture. These can sometimes provide valuable information about where and when a piece was made, as well as who manufactured it. If no such labels are present, try looking for any identifying marks that might have been left by the maker (such as initials or symbols).
3) Take note of any hardware present on the furniture. Older pieces will often have unique hardware that is no longer in production; this can help give you an idea as to its approximate age. Conversely, if all of the hardware appears brand new it could mean that the piece has been recently refinished or restored, which could throw off your estimation somewhat.
4) Consider what type of wood was used in construction. Certain woods were more popular during specific time periods; if you’re able to identify what kind of wood was used it might give you some insight into how old the piece actually is
Try to Figure Out What Tools Were Used
You may not be able to tell exactly how old a piece of furniture is just by looking at it, but you can usually get a pretty good idea by looking at the tools that were used to make it. If you’re trying to date a piece of furniture, here are some things to look for:
Hand-cut dovetails – This is a very old method of joinery that was typically used in 18 t h and early 19 t h century furniture. It’s not often seen in mass-produced pieces today.
Machine-cut dovetails – This type of joint became popular in the late 19 t h century and is still used today. It’s a much faster way to assemble furniture, so if you see this type of joint, the piece is likely from the late 1800 s or later.
Turned wood columns – Columns were often added to furniture in the late 1800 s and early 1900 s as an ornamental element. If you see turned columns on a piece, it’s likely from this time period.
Brass hardware – Brass hardware was popular in furniture from about 1700 until the mid-19 t h century. After that, it fell out of favor and was replaced by other materials like iron and steel.
Look at the Wood and Upholstery Fabric
Regarding dating furniture, there are a few key things you can look at to help determine the age of a piece. One of the most important things to look at is the wood used in construction. Different woods were used during different time periods, so by looking at the type of wood used, you can often narrow down the date range for a piece.
In addition to looking at the wood, another important thing to consider is the upholstery fabric. Just like with clothing, fabrics go in and out of style, so by looking at the type of fabric used on a piece of furniture, you can often get a good sense for how old it is. Of course, these are just general guidelines – there are always exceptions – but if you keep these things in mind when inspecting a piece of furniture, you should be able to get a pretty good idea of its age.
Investigate the Screws and Other Hardware
Regarding dating a piece of furniture, one of the first places you should look is at the screws and other hardware. This can give you some clues as to the age and construction of the piece. For example, if all of the screws are made of a certain type of metal, this can tell you what era the furniture was made in. If there are different types of screws used, this can tell you that the piece was made in multiple periods or that it has been repaired at some point in its life.
In addition to looking at the screws, also take a close look at any other hardware on the piece. This includes things like handles, knobs, hinges, and locks. Again, pay attention to both material and style as these can give you clues about when the piece was made or last updated.