We’ve taken a look at the brief history of furniture in general here on our site. We’ve taken a look at unique furniture creations around the world and unique furniture creations for children. We’ve talked a lot about furniture – fun facts, interesting tidbits and more. Now, let’s take a look at American made furniture from the 1600s to the 1700s.
Have you ever thought about how the Pilgrims and the earliest immigrants got their furniture all the way here? Sure, they were on boats and fairly large ones but these boats were also crammed full of people and if each one of those people had brought along all their furniture, leaving England never would have worked. No, the earliest European settlers brought just the bare essentials to start anew in America – items such as boxes or chests. Lucky for them, there was plenty of wood in American to recreate their long left behind furniture.
There were several styles in this time frame but the two biggest ones were the Seventeenth Century style (from 1620-1690) and the William and Mary style (which actually ran into the early 1700s). Seventeenth Century style furniture was a creation of the transition from Europe to America, was created by immigrant craftsmen and had hints of medieval and Renaissance traditions. Furniture in this style is frequently made of straight oak members joined at right angles. It is sturdy and massive, with low, horizontal proportions.
The William and Mary Style which started around 1690 broke away from the right angles and jointed styles of the Seventeenth Century style. This style was made of walnut or maple and used spiral shapes. All designs featured a ball on the bottom of each furniture leg. Furniture became more slender and vertical in design (particularly chairs). This is also when dovetailing came about (a joinery technique in which the case sides and fronts are fastened with interlocking joints that resemble in shape the tail of a dove.) Dovetailing allowed for lighter woods and boards and made furniture much lighter than their earlier sturdy oak counterparts.
Next time, we’ll take a look at what styles came in the 1700s following the William and Mary Style. We’ll take a look at the 1700s to the 1800s and keep on going till we reach now. It will be amazing to see how furniture has changed throughout the centuries! Till then check out the examples of antique furniture below!
By the way, although most manufacturing of wood furniture has gone overseas, Suburban Furniture displays and stocks many sets from 100% American made Vaughan Bassett Furniture. Click here to learn more about this almost 100 year old company. Most of Suburban Furniture’s upholstery is assembled here in US factories.