Serial numbers can help identify a manufacturer or a period something was made in. If you have a piece of furniture you're trying to identify; you may be wondering whether your furniture has serial numbers. Well, we've researched the topic in-depth and have an answer for you.
To put it quite simply, most pieces of furniture will have some sort of serial number or manufacturer's mark.
Now you know that your furniture probably has a serial number, but keep reading as we discuss where it might be located. We'll go over which items of furniture typically have a serial number and what it might mean. We'll also tell you how to identify pieces made by some well-known furniture companies.
Finding Furniture Serial Numbers
Most items made will have a serial number on them, and this includes furniture. It can usually be found stamped, etched into, or on a paper label attached to the furniture piece.
What the serial number means will vary depending on the piece of furniture it's on. Serial numbers will often reveal the manufacturer, model number, or date that the furniture was made. Finding the serial number might require some hunting.
Most couches will have a serial number—Yes, even the newer ones! If you have a newer couch, you can expect to find the serial number on the product tag. This is usually located on a label attached to the inside of the arm of the couch, the bottom of the couch, or under the seat cushions.
If you have an older couch, it may be located on the outside of the furniture. In this case, you should tilt the couch on its side and check underneath and any other exposed areas.
The serial number to a recliner is usually underneath the base of the recliner or on a label behind the footrest. However, it might also be on a label attached to the back of the recliner's arm.
Tables & Chairs
There aren't many places for a serial number to hide on a table. The easiest way to find it is by turning the table upside down. It'll likely be on the bottom of the table, underneath the surface, or on the inside of one of the edges. Look for a sticker, stamp, or metal plate with the number on it.
Similarly, a serial number will likely be on the base of a chair. Tip it upside down to check underneath.
For some inspiration for furnishing your dining room, check out: 17 Dining Room Table Ideas.
Chests or Cases
For chests and cases, the serial number might be on the back of the item or inside a drawer.
As you can see, there aren't set locations for serial numbers. The location of the serial number will depend on who made the product. Some items might have no serial number at all. It's best to investigate your item thoroughly.
How Can You Tell If Furniture Is Antique Or Reproduction?
There's something charming about antique furniture. It brings a piece of history into your home, but how can you tell if you're getting the real deal or a reproduction? Well, there are a few things you can look for.
Antique refers to a collectible item with a high value because of its age, which is what you have to look for. You need to check for signs that the item of furniture has aged.
Check for marks on the piece that might've resulted from nicks and bumps over the years or water damage where something might have been placed on top. If the item is a reproduction, it will look smooth and uniform.
Reproductions are often factory-made by machines, so you should also check for irregularities in the joints. Joints made by a machine will look perfect and will indicate it is not an antique.
If the item has drawers, check the runners for wear and tear. On an antique, the runner will look like the drawer has been used many times.
You can also check for identifying tags or serial numbers that might indicate when and by who the item was made.
If you're still in doubt, you can take your item to be appraised. Some antique stores have appraisers, and there is usually a fee for appraisals.
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How Do You Read A Lane Serial Number?
If you have a piece of Lane furniture, you might have noticed a 6 or 7 digit number stamped on them. This is a serial number. When read backward, the serial number lists the date the item was made—for example, an item with serial number 965090 was made on 09/05/69.
Sometimes there is an extra number added to the serial number. This reveals which plant location it was made in. Therefore, if the number from the above example instead reads 4965090, we would know that it was made on 09/05/69 at plant #4.
Is All Stickley furniture marked?
Almost all Stickley furniture is marked. However, the marks are not all alike and often changed over the years. The design of the mark depends on which Stickley brother made the furniture.
If the furniture were made by Gustav Stickley, the mark would be a compass with the Latin phrase 'Als ik kan" and the name or signature of Gustav Stickley. Though its design changed frequently, the mark maintained those three features. The mark would either be stamped, burned, or on a paper label.
If the furniture were made by L. & J.G. Stickley, you'd notice the name on almost all of their marks. However, unlike Gustav's, their logo varies more. An L. & J.G. Stickley mark will either have "The Onondaga Shops," a hand screw, a rectangular label that states "The work of L. & J.G. Stickley," or just merely "Stickley."
When the brothers merged their businesses, they had a mark that incorporated both the hand screw and compass to signify their unification.
The most used Stickley mark is a square logo with the words "Stickley Fayetville Syracuse." The square logo was used for 60 years.
The Stickley museum website has lots of image examples of the Stickley marks.
Is Duncan Phyfe Furniture Marked?
While most furniture makers did put their name or logo on their work, Duncan Phyfe rarely did. So if your piece wasn't one of the few he did sign, identifying whether it is an authentic Duncan Phyfe work might be a little harder.
To identify an unmarked Duncan Phyfe piece, first look for documentation, such as an invoice, to prove he made the item. If you don't have any paper proof, look for identifying features typical of a Phyfe piece.
How Do You Identify Baker Furniture?
Baker furniture has been around for over 100 years and still exists today. Baker furniture has identifying tags.
A brass tag marked most Baker furniture. The brass tag is usually located inside the top drawer or on the back of the furniture. The font is generally in cursive. Upholstered pieces will often only have the words "Baker Furniture" on the tag, but other pieces might also have a small crown and a leaf.
If the piece was from the Milling Road collection, it will have a stamp instead of a brass tag. It will read "Milling Road" with "Baker Furniture" in capital letters underneath.
While most furniture items will have some kind of serial number or identifying number, not all will. The best way to find out if your piece of furniture has one is by checking and looking for it yourself. Hopefully, we've made the process a little bit quicker by giving you some ideas of where to check first.
If you're wondering how to bring back life to some of your old cabinets, check out our other blog post: How To Restore Oak Cabinets [5 Steps]