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You might be wondering how to identify Thomasville furniture? This article will tell you eveything that you need to know.
Thomasville Furniture Company is a furniture company that was founded in 1904. They became known for intricate hand-crafted designs manufactured in their North Carolina factory, where the company originated.
Due to its massive success, it expanded and began to produce more types of furniture and became a well-known furniture manufacturer. They have a wide selection of pieces, some of which are highly sought after.
With an onslaught of vintage furniture replication, it can be extremely tough to identify Thomasville furniture.
Certain pieces can have tremendous value, so if you think you’ve come across a real Thomasville piece, you’ll want to be sure it’s authentic before going any further.
Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to know for sure if you have an authentic Thomasville item.
The best way to identify real Thomasville furniture is to search for hand-crafting signs. Details like small asymmetries, imperfect dovetailing, and the use of different types of wood are usually signs of a real Thomasville piece.
About Thomasville Furniture Company
Thomasville Furniture Company initially specialized in producing chairs. After garnering a lot of success and a good reputation, they expanded into all types of furniture.
They remained popular for a long time and even endured the financial hardships caused by the Great Depression, which caused many similar companies to flounder.
Due to its massive success, it expanded and began to produce more types of furniture and became a well-known furniture manufacturer.
They have a wide selection of pieces, some of which are highly sought after. The original owners sold the company in 1960 into a conglomerate parent company.
After a few other changes in ownership, the Thomasville name is now in the hands of a few companies, some of whom solely have the rights to the title.
Others, however, are still adhering to the same blueprints that the original Thomasville Furniture Company created.
Thomasville Furniture Company does not exist in the same capacity it used to. As of 2014, the name Thomasville Furniture is owned by another company.
Although the name is still in use, it has minimal ties to the original manufacturing.
Tip: As of 2018, Thomasville furniture was purchased by Authentic Brands Group or ABG.
How To Identify Thomasville Furniture: What To Look For
Modern replicas of vintage furniture can look almost identical to the real thing, but authentic Thomasville furniture will have distinct qualities that a machine can’t recreate.
It can be challenging to tell the difference, but a handful of telltale signs will help you know for sure if you have a piece of real Thomasville furniture.
Dovetailing, or dovetail joints, is a furniture manufacturing technique of interlocking two pieces of wood together by cutting out slots on one of the pieces so that it can slide into the other.
Despite lacking standard joiners, like staples, glue, or nails, this furniture technique is incredibly durable and explicitly designed.
Hence, each piece is entirely flush, reducing wear over generations of gliding drawers in and out.
The piece will look much like puzzle pieces that fit together, but you might notice that the joints are not the exact same size or that the front and back parts of the drawer are constructed of two different types of wood.
It is known as a sign of quality craftsmanship. When done by hand, there are generally slight asymmetries, which is indicative of the piece being authentic.
If you’re wondering how to identify Thomasville bedroom furniture, like dressers or bedside tables, check for dovetail joints at the binding point.
Though it’s associated with high levels of craftsmanship, don’t be fooled if it appears perfect.
Perfect dovetails were likely cut by a machine, not by an actual craftsman, which means that the piece is probably not antique.
Tip: Dovetailing is a well-known technique used by furniture manufacturers since the 17th century.
Look For Stamps
Authentic Thomasville pieces generally have a stamp or label that denotes them as an original item.
Sometimes, antique hunters can find a piece that includes additional, helpful information like the piece’s name and the location or year of production.
The locations of these stamps can vary depending on the piece, but in general, they’re somewhere out of sight.
When learning how to identify Thomasville dining room furniture, like china cabinets and hutches, you should look at the back of the item.
- Larger pieces like dining tables will usually have a stamp on the underside.
- On dressers and credenzas, search for the stamp inside of a drawer.
- Chairs typically have stamps on the underside of the seat.
Don’t be fooled by fake logos or labels. Some resellers add them to increase the value, so look for signs of aging.
Tip: Thomasville used to go by Thomasville Chair Company, so tags with this name are real!
Look For Different Types Of Wood
Antique furniture, especially older hand-crafted companies like Thomasville, rarely used the same type of wood throughout an entire piece.
At the time, high-end wood was more expensive and was not as readily available as it is today, so it wouldn’t have made sense to use valuable wood for parts of the piece that people wouldn’t see.
Check the places that aren’t easily seen just from looking at the piece.
Some parts of furniture that you might find different types of wood in are the bottoms of chairs or drawers.
If you find various types of wood, you might be looking at a real Thomasville piece.
If you see the same kind of wood all around, it's probably a modern factory replication.
Is It Old Or Just Made To Look Old?
Especially in recent years, there has been a surge in popularity of the shabby chic aesthetic, or pieces with an intentionally old and distressed design.
Despite their appearance, the pieces are new, complicating trying to identify actual Thomasville items.
Authentic Thomasville furniture pieces will have clear signs of natural wear and tear, like worn-down drawer runners or piles of dirt and debris in the corners of drawers.
Details like that are generally not replicated because they would be detrimental to the piece’s value.
The newer pieces are designed to look old but function as if they were new.
Real, well-loved Thomasville furniture will have indications of use that set it apart from newer remodels.
Tip: Anything that would decrease the value is genuine. Aesthetic choices are not!
Search For Symmetry
Similar to how perfect dovetailing is a giveaway that the piece was a factory remodel, perfectly symmetrical designs, in general, are usually clear indicators that the piece is not authentic.
Vintage Thomasville furniture was hand-crafted, so there will be small incongruencies and imperfections in the size and shape of certain areas or parts of the design features.
It becomes most apparent when looking at the carved details, as getting these intricate designs perfect by hand is nearly impossible.
Even if it sounds strange, imperfections are good! Seeing minor variations and asymmetries means it was hand-crafted and is likely a real Thomasville piece.
On the other hand, if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
Final Words on Identifying Thomasville Furniture
Learning how to identifyThomasville furniture can be a challenging, exciting, rewarding, and sometimes disappointing process.
There are plenty of signs to determine if you have encountered an authentic piece of Thomasville furniture.
Just like a valid manufacturing tag, notable wear and tear to certain parts of the furniture, or asymmetrical designs, carvings, or dovetailing.
Sometimes even with these identifiers, it can be hard to distinguish between a vintage piece and a modern remake.
The most important thing to remember, especially regarding very worn-down pieces, is that real Thomasville pieces are more likely to have damage from use, not just a shabby, distressed appearance.