How to date furniture by casters

Written by ann johnson
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Furniture casters are viewed as a convenience that helps us move furniture so we can vacuum or rearrange the room. Yet, casters sometimes had more to do with lighting than housekeeping or design. Casters were fit on the legs of desks to allow the desk to be moved around the room to capture the changing sunlight throughout the day. Another use for casters is to estimate the date of the furniture.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Look to see if the caster is a leathern bowl or roller. This is one of the earliest forms of casters, indicative of furniture made during the Queen Anne period in the early 1700s.

  2. 2

    Inspect the casters to see if they are made from wood and held in place by iron. Wood casters held by iron plates might indicate the Georgian Period from 1720 to 1760.

  3. 3

    Determine if the casters are made from cast iron instead of wood. This would indicate a later Georgian period, from 1760 to 1770.

  4. 4

    Check to see if the caster is brass with a laminated leather caster. This style could indicate the Georgian period from 1770 to 1780.

  5. 5

    Verify if the caster is solid brass. This can indicate the furniture style of the Georgian period from 1780 to 1790. The late Georgian period, from 1750-1830, is referred to as "The Golden Age of Furniture."

Tips and warnings

  • Casters are often a replaceable part, which means the date of the caster might only indicate a date of the repair, not the date of the furniture.

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