American Furniture Then and Now

As the 4th of July approaches, we think about the history of the United States -- and the history of its furniture! Many different groups of settlers brought their own style of furniture to the mainland and since then, these furniture pieces have evolved and changed into the style we know as: traditional American furniture. 

The Bald Eagle

After the signing of the constitution, the eagle became a national symbol of both freedom and the United States. The image of the eagle found its way carved into furniture, within artwork, and even on embroidery. As you look at traditional rooms and designs, you'll often be able to distinguish the similar English and American style pieces if the Eagle makes an appearance in the decorations.

Cabinetmaking

Since each American colony was separate, they often had their own unique style of cabinetmaking. Cabinetry found its way throughout the house: cupboards, kitchens, dressers, chests, buffets, and more. These differences could include the style itself and the type of wood. Different colonies had access to different types of wood with different finishes and grains. For example, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the two-tone wood chest became popular. It featured two types of wood that was locally available, versus other colonies that had access to more exotic wood. 

The Swivel Chair

Our own Thomas Jefferson invented the swivel chair, a chair that you often see in offices and homes across the world. He adapted the Windsor chair -- an English classic -- and added an iron spindle with castors so that he could move in between desks in his office. The chair is now a staple.

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Arts & Crafts or Mission Style

The Arts and Crafts or "Mission" style era occurred during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The style featured heavy uses of woods including oak and maple and simple decorative carvings, very different from English and French influences. This style continued through the 1920s and you can still find it in some homes today.

High Point, North Carolina

High Point, North Carolina is often referred to as the furniture capitol of the world. In fact most furniture factories opened there in 1889. Today almost every furniture manufacturer has a factory or warehouse in High Point and it's where most trends, styles, and looks come from.