how to identify furniture manufacturer
Kristina Davis

Wondering how to identify furniture manufacturers when dealing with vintage furniture? You are certainly not alone!

When treated with care and kept in pristine condition, high-quality furniture can survive for generations.

You can find antique furniture in resale and antique shops, as well as through personal family inheritance.

If the furniture’s original maker or owner is no longer around to provide further information, determining who made it can initially appear like a mystery.

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furniture original maker or owner

It is true that many antique pieces of furniture, whether manufactured or handmade, are not labeled with their maker’s name.

So, how to identify furniture maker in that situation?

From checking stamps, identifying markings, and tracing the maker online, to asking friends and family, you can try many ways to identify a furniture manufacturer. 

How To Identify Furniture Manufacturer With Ease?

how to identify furniture manufacturer with ease

It is essential to know the maker of your furniture. Why?

Well, even if it is not identified, an antique wrought-iron chair used as patio furniture will fetch more than $100.

Marked and bearing the name of a famous maker from days gone by, it may fetch thousands of dollars at auction.

Therefore, you should put in the work to identify furniture. Finding an old furniture piece manufacturer is mostly about finding a clue.

You have to play Sherlock and find something as a starting point that you could use online or use as a reference to unfold the mystery. 

Locate Stamps or Tags

located the stamps or tags

When learning how to identify patio furniture manufacturer or how to identify bedroom furniture manufacturers, you have to begin with spotting the signs.

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To identify the manufacturer of a piece of furniture, look for a label or stamp with the company’s name on it.

Where should you look for those stamps and tags? Well, it may vary slightly based on the furniture piece. 

Usually, you can find an identifying marker:

  • In the drawer of your old dresser
  • On the underside of your sofa seat or chair
  • On the rear side of a chest of drawers 

Looking at the back is essential, especially on larger items like a bookshelf or dresser.

looking at the back is essential

The rear side of a bureau is often made of cheaper wood, and that is where the label goes so it will not scratch the finish.

Similarly, check the bottoms of furniture, especially the borders on the side and back, as here is where the tag is most likely to be affixed to the piece.

Tip: Remember a trade group or merchants like Roebuck & Company or Sears might put their name on a product instead of the actual maker, so search accordingly.   

Search for Special Markings

the search for special markings

Sometimes, you might not find a tag or a stamp, but there may be a marking suggesting who the real maker is.

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Manufacturers often stamp their names, logos, and handwritten signatures onto furniture.

While other forms of identification may exist, metal tags bearing the name and address of the maker are by far the most prevalent.

Remember, the tag may not be readily visible or look faded, depending on how old the furniture is.

Tip: Consider the rarity of your furniture piece and then get an idea about its age to help identify the manufacturer. 

Look for Furniture Identification Numbers

numbers of furniture identification

Sometimes, it is possible to use the furniture identification number to track down the original maker.

Again, look at all the prominent places to find the manufacturer’s stamp.

The stamps on furniture often include the brand name or serial numbers that can be used to trace its origin.

Once you have found the stamp, you might find the code “YYWW” on it.

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These four letters represent “W=Week” and “Y=Year.” But sometimes, you do not notice any of these letters and get different digits.

They usually represent the identification number of your furniture piece. 

Consider the Age

taking note of age

So many times, you can quickly identify a furniture manufacturer by identifying the age of your furniture piece.

Determine how long you have had furniture and research who made the most popular pieces during that era.

Of course, this approach alone may not be sufficient to identify your furniture maker.

But you can use it in conjunction with the previous methods discussed to narrow down the possibilities.

Search in the Local Area

searching in the local area

Learning to read the stamps is essential, but it usually gives you an incomplete picture.

But, if the piece of furniture has a label with the name of a city or guild, you are in luck.

It always helps narrow down the possible historical period and region.

You can usually tell if an item of furniture in a particular style was made in a certain region, even if it lacks a manufacturer’s label.

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finding in the local area

A community’s historical society may have a wealth of knowledge of a once-famous but now-defunct furniture manufacturer or local artists who produced wooden furniture.

If you are in the area, call the society to set up a time to drop by and meet.

And if you are not, send an email asking for more details. 

Identify Specialties

identify the specialties

Sometimes, one maker will prefer one type of wood over another, and learning about it can help you identify the real maker of your furniture.

For instance, some specific manufacturers used maple when everyone else was using oak in a certain era.

Similarly, you can tell much about the maker by considering the upholstery pattern over another. 

Connect With Friends and Family

connect with families

Assuming that you are not the only person in the world with a unique piece of furniture, chances are good that other people have the same or similar pieces.

Get the word out among your social circle and see if anyone can identify the furniture maker.

If they know, they will tell you who made your furniture; if not, they may help you move in the right direction.  

Tip: Look for auction houses in your area and get furniture identification guides to help you easily identify your furniture maker. 

Search Online

online searching furniture

The information available on the web is like an infinite sea. Sometimes, a simple Google search can help you find the answer to your question.

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Suppose you have an antique chair with red needlepoint seat.

Try searching for phrases like “antique chair in floral needlepoint seat” online to find similar items.

If you keep looking, you will discover the identity of the creator. Or, at the very least, some information about the time and design aesthetic that informed your piece.

Not only this, you can try social media sites for help.

social media sites

Facebook groups, Instagram, Twitter, and so on open up a world of information and connections to countless individuals.

And then, there are other sites, like Reddit and Quora, where users can post questions and get answers from others.

You can also ask the community whether they recognize the brand of furniture you are looking for by posting photos of it on one of these sites. 

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Check Company Archives

checking company archives

You should do some investigating if you have exhausted all of your existing leads in your quest for the furniture maker.

Your furniture was undoubtedly processed at some point, and as such, there must be records of it stored away in the factory.

When confused, check the back catalogs of some of your area’s best furniture stores and manufacturers.

You may find out if a company is the maker of your furniture by checking out their website, reading their magazines, or getting in touch with them directly. 

Connect With an Expert

connecting with an expert

Even after extensive investigation, it might be challenging to identify the manufacturer of a vintage dresser or table.

If you want to find out who made the piece, you should take it, or at least some photos, to a dealer specializing in period furniture.

Because of their extensive background, the dealer has probably seen comparable furniture or heard of pieces like yours before.

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the conclusion

Remember that some may charge you a fee, but it should not be much, especially considering it will save you a lot of hassle.

Tip: Many companies maintain old catalogs, and you can always search for your specific furniture item to get a clue. 

Takeaway

Learning how to identify furniture manufacturers is essential but not always easy.

Although there are no shortcuts, learning to read furniture labels and identification numbers is an excellent place to start.

Find out who made your furniture by calling local businesses and inquiring if the given serial number is associated with any of their products.

Take images of the serial number and post them online; ask around at family, friends, and antique shops to see if anyone recognizes the brand.

It takes some time, but it is possible to identify the furniture manufacturer.

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