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This article originally appeared in Antique Trader magazine Learn about subscribing to Antique Trader magazine for just

This article originally appeared in Antique Trader magazine Learn about subscribing to Antique Trader magazine for just $1 per issue!Labels found on 20th-century furniture generally fall into three categories: manufacturers, retailers and associations.

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This article originally appeared in Antique Trader magazine Learn about subscribing to Antique Trader magazine for just $1 per issue!

per issue!Labels found on 20th-century furniture generally fall into three categories: manufacturers, retailers and associations.

Without proper labeling, it was easy to confuse the consumer.A little more difficult to identify are companies that were at one time a manufacturer but became a retailer or department store. The most famous of these is the ubiquitous “Mahogany Association” that many collectors mistakenly believe to be a company name.Around the turn of the 20th century, aniline dyes were introduced into the American furniture market.And, of course, there was the Mahogany Association in Chicago, which issued decals to assure customers that the furniture was, in fact, “genuine mahogany” and not a cheap substitute.Finding an antique piece of Stickley furniture today is akin to winning the lottery.To the uninformed, could this be the name of a retail furniture store rather than a maker?Some specialty factories did a little better by including their main product in the name, such as Sikes Chair Co. These names offer a slightly more solid reference to the company as a maker and not a retailer.It had several “service bureaus” within it to promote different woods, including the Oak Bureau and the Gumwood Bureau.In addition, there was a separate American Walnut Manufacturers Association based in Chicago, the Northern Hard Maple Manufacturers in Oshkosh, Wis., and the Birch Manufacturers, also in Oshkosh.One clue that a company is a retailer and not a maker is the inclusion of another product line. Hartman bought furniture from a number of factories, but when it was sold, it carried only Hartman’s name. Flint and Horner became a well known maker of early Depression-era furniture, but sometime later, it ceased manufacturing and became a broad-based retailer in New York.An example of that is Hartman Furniture and Carpet Co. The same is true if the name of the company includes terminology like “department store,” which was used by Federated. Flint was a mid-19th-century cabinetmaker whose business was acquired by R. Sometimes the only label found in a piece is that of a trade association or guild.

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  1. American Seating was originally founded as Grand Rapids School Furniture. American Seating Company. We welcome the inspiring NIMA chair to the American Seating.

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