American Furniture By E. T. Joy


a pedestal table, usually mahogany, with a circular top and an apron of sufficient depth to resemble a drum, with or without drawers in the apron. Almost every example (bund in America is of English make. Ameri-t:;m examples usually date 1810-30.

Duck foot:

colloquial term for the three-toed club or Dutch foot, mostly found in Delaware River Valley furniture. Also called drake foot and web foot. For some reason the pad foot is often mistakenly called a duck foot.

Dumb waiter:

a circular rack of shelves which turn. Sheraton called it *a useful piece of furniture to serve in ... the place of a waiter'. Few were made in America. How-ever, a special American type, known as the Lazy Susan (q.v.), was used for condiments on some early nineteenth-century dining tables.

Eagle, American:

the Seal of the United States, adopted 1786, emblematizes the American bald eagle with wings outspread (Fig. 10). This emblem promptly became popular as furniture ornament -carved (free or engaged), inlaid or painted-replacing the fanciful phoenix which had been used since the mid-eighteenth century.


the staining of wood, such as maple, to look like ebony. Much used in early American furniture, especially William and Mary style pieces.


see Windsor chair.

Fan pattern:

description of the back of a chair when filled with ribs somewhat re-sembling the stalks of a half-open fan. Also said of any fan-shaped carving, inlay, or painted decoration. (See Rising sun.)

Fancy chair:

almost any variety of decorative occasional chair, generally light in weight, painted, and with a cane seat. The source was probably the late Sheraton occasional chair. Popular in all styles from 1800 to 1850.

Federal style:

a term often used in America to describe furniture made in the United States between 1785 and 1830, the early days of the Republic. It includes works showing Hepplewhite, Sheraton, Directory and early Empire influence. An inexact, therefore unsatisfactory, term—though at times highly convenient.


the carving, somewhat resem-bling a fish tail, on the top rail of a banister-back chair.

Flag seat:

colloquial term sometimes used for a seat woven of rush-like material.

Flame carving:

a cone-like finial carved to represent flames, either straight or spiral-ing. Used on highboys, secretaries, grand-father clocks, etc.


pencil-size grooves carved per-pendicularly in bed posts, etc, as ornament. Occasionally employed in eighteenth-century America on bed posts, square-legged tables and later Goddard chairs: much used by nineteenth-century Duncan Phyfe on table legs and seating furniture in his Sheraton style. The reverse of reeding.

Folding table:

see Gate-leg table.


colloquial term widely used for a bedstead with four posts.


generally a narrow table, top and frame, with two legs at each end and, at each side, hinged-gate supports which swing out to support hinged leaves. Either oval in form or rectangular. First used about 1650, it was made in various styles and sizes, continuing highly popular until about 1720, when it was practically outmoded by drop-leaf tables, which had swinging legs but no gate. A variant is the folding table in which the gate operates somewhat differently, per-mitting the table to be all but completely folded. A few large examples are known with double - that is, four - gates (twelve legs in all) supporting huge leaves. The gate-leg was the most popular table in seventeenth-century America.

Goose neck:

see Scroll top.


the attempted revival in England about 1750 of the Gothic style reached but small proportions when it crossed the Atlantic. In American furniture it found expression only in minor suggestions of Gothic orna¬ment, such as arabesques of Gothic motives carved in low relief on the arms and legs of chairs, a pointed arch or quatrefoils carved

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Antiques For Sale

Philip Burke has a wide range of 18th and 19th century English and continental antique furniture.

The different styles of antique furniture that comes in may only last a few days in the workshop before they are sold. If you require a piece of furniture not listed please call and we will do our best to cater for your needs.



Philip Burke has been involved in restoration work for a number of years dealing with all aspects of antique furniture restoration and conservation

Antique furniture is not always beautiful and pristine--in fact, some of the most valuable pieces show wear and fading. Whether or not to restore antique furniture can be a complex question, but it also depends on the definition of "restore."


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