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|Reproduction Of 17th Century New England Chairs, Made In The 1850's
( Article orginally published July 1952 )
Thanks to the late Wallace Nutting's various books, the furniture of New England has been fairly well impressed upon the consciousness of collectors. Nutting really sparked a revival of interest in Brewster, Carver and Winslow type chairs, all of them the New England counterparts of similar Tudor chairs of old England. In the 1850's there was a great revival of interest in things antique and, it may well be that had we not been stultified by the Civil War, the cult of Antiques Collecting by the people would have occurred in the 1860's instead of beginning in the 1880's.
The chairs here pictured are not authentic New England antiques. They are reproductions made almost 100 years ago. They are perfectly made, from old wood, and "antiqued" in the sense they show wear where the wear should show. Now for the $64 question: how many supposedly authentic Brewster, Carver and Winslow chairs are actually reproductions, but now so old the reproduction has been unsuspected? These reproductions were made by J. C. Cummerford, of New York, at his shops 448 Broadway. Cummerford entered the chair manufacturing business in 1834. He made the Pilgrim chair reproductions in 1854-5. In 1856 the United States Magazine commented on the reproductions thus: "There is no doubt our Pilgrim families are ready to supply themselves with so good a model."
In all justice, Cummerford was not making fakes or selling his reproductions as originals. But it wouldn't be much fun to buy a Cummerford chair at a price current for genuine Pilgrim century examples, would it?