Unlike the 20th and 21st century which is rich in synthetic designs and creations like plastic and monoblocs, antique furniture throughout history pays tribute either to its designers or the trees that supplied the wood. Antique wooden furniture is now becoming popular as furniture additions to many homes especially when the homes are undergoing major furniture renovations and home improvements. When selecting wood antique furniture for home improvements, the following periods identify these antiques.
The Age of Oak
During the reigns of the English Tudor monarchs for a period of 160 years beginning in 1500, furniture was made from Oak. Most Oak furniture at this point used Gothic carvings to decorate panels and framing and were massive pieces whether as four-post beds, chairs, tables, shelves, cabinets, and even stools. Lighter Oak furniture was called Wainscot to denote that the Oak was imported from the Baltic regions. Most furniture artisans of this period came from Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands which eventually ushered in the Renaissance period.
Age of Walnut
This furniture material was introduced between 1600 and 1730. It was slow in gaining ground due to the popularity of Oak. Walnut is partly responsible for the gradual decline of furniture carvings and bow turned legs because of the combination of Walnut inlaid or veneer on Oak.
Age of Mahogany and Satinwood
Even as Walnut was gaining popularity, Mahogany began to enter the furniture scene in the middle part of the 18th century. Furniture became less ornamented and designs became simplistic but, with elegant lines. The latter part of the same century saw the entry of Satinwood due to the design known as Adelphi, the trademark of the architects, the Adams brothers.
The 17th Century
This age saw the design popularity of the colorful upholstery of Carolean furniture and the stern and frugal Jacobean furniture. Both designs saw the adoption of the straight table and chair legs rather than the bow or turning legs.
In the early North American colonies, because of the harsh colonial environment, the designs brought over from England as well as those made in the continent had to withstand the cruel test of time and environment. This is why antique furniture during the colonial period of America was a mixture of different designs. A contributing factor to this mixture is also the fact that Oak, Walnut, Mahogany and Satinwood were in abundance in the colonies. Furniture that became well known during the colonial period were the chests created by Nicholas Disbrowe around 1660 and the furniture designed by William and Mary Style.