More on Pennsylvania Furniture

The Carnegie Museum of Art has on display two pieces of furniture that give us some insight into furniture making in Western Pennsylvania. The first is a tall case clock made by Thomas Hutchinson. The face of the clock bears his name and is labeled Washington, Pa. The case features many elements known to be hallmarks of Western Pennsylvania furniture including a vine and leaf inlay design.

The earlier furniture such as the case clock seems to be better chronicled that later furniture, made after 1830. The Carnegie also features a sideboard labeled as being made by Henry Beares. The sideboard has many features of a Philadelphia piece, although it does seem to have more mass than comparable Philadelphia furniture.

One has to assume it would not be unique. The book Pittsburgh’s Commercial Development shows furniture being shipped both to and from Pittsburgh as early as 1835 (the earliest year the book covers. Newspaper ads feature other companies making furniture in Pittsburgh and Allegheny in the 1830s, including the Allegheny Chair at the corner of Ohio Street and “the Diamond” in Allegheny.

Both examples in the Carnegie serve to show that the quality of cabinet making in Pittsburgh from the late Eighteenth Century through the 1830s was fairly sophisticated and even somewhat comparable to what was being made in the East.

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