In the mid-1600s a carpenter in ‘New Haven’ by the name of Thomas Mulninert created was is considered to be the very first piece of furniture made in America and by the end of the 17th century many more furniture makers emerged in order to keep up with the new demand for exquisite home furnishings.
Throughout America’s history there have been several very different periods of furniture design and each of them has its own charm and its own particular characteristics.
The ‘Colonial’ era, is best known for its Jacobean furniture and its ‘Queen Anne styles’ but the furniture that was designed by Chippendale was very different but in a way similar to their elaborate and extravagant appearance.
The ‘Federal’ era of American furniture embraces the ‘Classical’ period and also ‘Sheraton’ and ‘Hepplewhite’ furniture.
It should perhaps be noted that most collectors and dealers are inclined to focus on one particular period of American furniture because of that periods distinct style and characteristics. If you wish to start a collection then I would suggest that you only buy from a specialist in either the era or creator that interests you.
Antique furniture from the ‘Pilgrim’ era was typically made from pine or oak and it is extremely rare today. It is often very oversized and rather bulky and it is typically held together with wooden pegs instead of nails.
The ‘William and Mary’ period used more pine, maple and walnut in order to produce much lighter furniture and it generally had more highly polished finishes and elaborate designs which made them very different from the simplicity of pieces created during the ‘Pilgrim’ period.
The ‘Queen Anne’ furniture was routinely made of high quality woods like mahogany and cherry and most often feature very detailed handiwork plus a heavy lacquered gloss.
The ‘Chippendale’ style of furniture is separate and very different because of its oriental, French rococo and gothic influences.