Friday, October 24, 2008

Furniture Detective

This bench used to sit in my Great Aunt's entryhall. After she passed away, my sister stored it -along with many other things she thought I might like to have someday- in her gi-normous storage shed. Several years later, when we had moved back to Oklahoma, my sister cleaned out her shed and gave me several things that had belonged to our grandparents and great aunts. Including this bench.

I know nothing of the bench's history. Just that I adore it. Simply because it brings back fond memories of visiting Aunt Agnes and Uncle Clinton. The first thing I would see as I walked in their door. And the fabric pattern is so sweet.

I decided I wanted to know more about this dainty little piece of furniture that has held its own unassuming place in our family. I wanted to know exactly what kind of bench it is because it's like nothing I've ever seen. And I wanted to find out how old it is.

On the bottom of the bench is a well-worn sticker. I could make out the town and state it was made in, as well as part of the name of the company. After some online searching, I discovered it was made by Crocker Chair Company.

Crocker Chair Company was started in 1865 and went out of business in 1932 due to the Great Depression. This helped to narrow down its age. Somewhat.

I found Crocker Chair Company's 1924-1925 catalog online. I scoured each page, but never found my little bench.

After a bit more online searching, I came across an expert on such matters, Fred Taylor, the Furniture Detective. Yesterday I sent him an email, asking for his assistance with the type and age of my bench. I included all three photos.

This morning I got his email response. What a friendly, helpful man he is. He gave me even more information than I'd asked. This was his response:

Kim - Your seat is a birds eye maple vanity bench that belonged to a Depression era bedroom set. It was probably made in the late 1920s to around 1932 when the company closed. The five layer molded plywood construction is more typical of the Depression era than earlier. Its almost Art Deco.

Thanks for writing.

Fred Taylor

I am so pleased! I now know it is a vanity bench. And was made somewhere around 1926-1932.

Now I just wish I knew what happened to the rest of the bedroom set.


Nikki via The Scarlett Rose Garden said...

What a beautiful bench! I would've loved to have seen the vanity that this jewel used to sit next to. Family pieces are the best.

Anonymous said...


I appreciate your taking the time to post this great story about the history of a memorable item of family history. My wife has this exact same vanity bench that was passed on to her by her Great Aunt from Wrightstown, Wisconsin. When I searched Google images I was excited to see the exact same bench, thanks to the images you had posted.

Many thanks!
Gary Oldham
Sisters, Oregon