Dating antiques joinery

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Before this innovation most furniture consisted of simple boxes called coffers or some type of open shelving arrangement and cabinets with shelves behind doors such as the old court cupboard.

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He doesn’t even see what’s inside the drawer.” And that was true.

I just wanted to date the piece by how the drawer was made.

Over the years of working on hundreds of pieces of antique furniture, I’ve developed a quick and fairly accurate system for dating and determining the origin of any piece of furniture containing drawers. Construction Drawer construction has changed several times in the last 200 years.

One of the first things to be looked at when trying to determine the age of a piece of older or antique furniture is the type of joinery used in the construction of the piece.

Knowing the history of the technology of various periods goes a long way toward explaining clues about the age of furniture and none is more important (or accessible) than the type of joint used to secure a drawer. The interlocking dovetail joint came into general use in the William and Mary period in the late 1600s and very early 1700s and for the first time allowed the construction of reliable drawers, a device with extremely limited use or convenience until then.

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