Reading Labels

Sep 30, 2016 | Furniture FAQs and Tips | 1 comment

Eight Hundred Furniture’s tagline is “Furniture With a Story”.  (Did you know that?)  Part of knowing the story behind a piece is researching any maker’s marks or labels you find on the backs, bottoms, and insides of drawers.  Have you ever noticed these?  It’s definitely worth your while to look them up online.  They help you date pieces, figure out where they were made, and determine worth if the maker is reputable or rare.

If you remember this little oak refectory table from a little bit ago, it had a maker’s label under the top.

This sticker isn’t from my piece, but it looked exactly like this one. 

I did some research on The Davis-Birely Table Company and discovered that they were in business from 1901-1938.  If my table was made at the Shelbyville, Indiana factory, it could be anywhere from 78 – 115 years old!

I even found an old photo of the factory itself.

This mahogany dresser had a blue label on the inside of the top drawer.

I learned that these labels were placed on pieces dating from 1936 to the mid-1950’s.  The Mahogany Association used two kinds of labels during this time.  Blue labels mean the piece had a veneer of genuine mahogany.  Red means the piece was made of solid genuine mahogany.  Both labels include a number towards the bottom that corresponds to a specific furniture manufacturer. My label was blue, which indicated mahogany veneer and my manufacturer number was 160, which belonged to Drexel in Drexel, North Carolina.

This red hoosier cabinet I painted for Love Street Vintage had a plate from the Oxford Cabinet Company just down the road from me in Oxford, Pennsylvania.

This fun website gave me some great information on how to date your hoosier.  According to them, cabinets manufactured in Oxford, PA are from the 1930’s and were Pennsylvania’s contribution to the trend. 

I also did another retro-style cabinet with a similar label just inside the bottom door.

Right now, I’m having a tough time finding information on the maker of this beautifully carved cedar chest.

The label under the lid reads, “Jacob Bloom Company, Phila PA, Manufacturer Genuine Tennessee Red Cedar Chests”.  I haven’t been able to find much information on this company.

Another project that is literally just getting started is a little record cabinet with this label on the back. 

Please excuse the peeling back.  Once again, I haven’t been able to find much information on this piece, but it seems like no one else has either.  I found a few forums where people are looking for more information about their record cabinets by this maker as well.  At least I’m not alone!

If anyone has information about these makers or good sources to use for furniture manufacturer research, please let me know.  I love a good furniture story!  I can’t always find the information I’m looking for, but it’s fun to investigate and see what Google finds.

Do you have any good furniture stories of your own?


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I'm Jenn Baker - Milk Paint lover, photographer, blogger, and QVC Guest Host. Click below to learn more about me and my creative business.  LEARN MORE ABOUT JENN

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