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Forum topic by EarlyAmerican posted 11-11-2011 04:19 PM 885 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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EarlyAmerican

2 posts in 1043 days


11-11-2011 04:19 PM

Assistance Needed

In an early Antiques the Magazine Article, I read how the (once known?) British-American Rhykenological Society was able to help link a makers mark that was used on wood planes with three different desks from the 18th century. In this case an embossing tool was used by the maker on the tools he used and the pieces of furniture he made, which of course were an identical match.

I have the later part of this mystery. It is a late 18th century secretary that was likely made in southeast Pennsylvania or within the Delaware Valley. The mark appears three times on the inside bottom of one of the interior lower case drawers. Pictured here is the secretary and mark which reads G CRAIG.

If anyone can help direct me to a reference source of any kind, that can possibly provide a link to the maker would be greatly appreciated. Of course would increase the value of this piece but of more importance to me is recognizing the makers fine craftsmanship.

Regards,

EarlyAmerican


5 replies so far

View Dave's profile

Dave

11168 posts in 1494 days


#1 posted 11-14-2011 06:37 AM

Knowing the region and time line helps narrow the field. The type of primary wood and secondary wood can help narrow the region down. Also the style. If the maker was in a big enough city there will be tax records and maybe newspaper articles that are archived. Look for guild listings, obituaries and marriage licenses with reference to furniture makers. Hope that helps a little.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

View Loren's profile

Loren

7554 posts in 2302 days


#2 posted 11-14-2011 07:33 AM

Take the drawers out and explore with a flashlight. Pencil markings may be
present in the carcase. Personally I think it’s odd to mark a one drawer 3 times
and nothing else.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15792 posts in 1521 days


#3 posted 11-14-2011 02:23 PM

It is a beautiful piece of furniture.

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

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Howie

2656 posts in 1577 days


#4 posted 11-14-2011 02:41 PM

Don’t know who “G Craig” is but he was a hell of a craftsman.
Have you checked for any hidden compartments. Pieces like this often have them.

-- Life is good.

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EarlyAmerican

2 posts in 1043 days


#5 posted 11-19-2011 03:01 PM

Thank you for the input I have been receiving. There are a number of details in the secretaries construction that I left out of the first posting. Some of that includes;

a. Secondary wood is heart pine.

b. Each drawer is divided by a full dust-board.

c. The embossed marks are upside down from the perspective of the drawer front. (as if the maker was presenting the piece to whoever owned it) At the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, all appraisers thought the marks were of the maker and not the owner.

d. The only other markings that have been found so far after nearly exhaustive inspection, is a drawing of a pediment on the inside of the lower case backboards. The drawing has twisted finials at the corners. I did inspect the cornice with great scrutiny and it is original to the secretary and not a replacement of one someone had cut off.

e. The secret compartments have been found with no further clues. (I’d mention where there are but of course that is a secret).

I am still searching for studies or databases that reference “ownership branding-markings” on early cabinetry tools. If anyone can put me in touch with an antique wood plane collector or even a dealer of antique tools that might help steer me in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again for the feedback on comments!

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