Featured Knapp Joint: What is this dresser?

Discussion in 'Antique Discussion' started by Emily Ellis, May 28, 2020.

  1. Emily Ellis

    Emily Ellis New Member

    I just bought this dresser and it was told to me that it is a dresser from the 1870's-1900's (possible eastlake??) would just love to know more information about this piece if anyone can help me!

    Attached Files:

  2. verybrad

    verybrad Well-Known Member

    It is Eastlake and circa 1880 is about right. Hard to tell wood from these pics. Pulls appear to be original. Do you have the marble top?
  3. Ghopper1924

    Ghopper1924 Well-Known Member

    Also called pin and cove joints. Machine made, American.
  4. Knapp joints on the drawer. Thomas Knapp of Wisconsin in about 1867 (right after the Civil War) designed and perfected this type of joinery. Often referred to as ball and joint, it was much stronger than the old tongue and grove or dovetail joints. He also designed the machinery for making the joint and gave the plans to any furniture company that wanted them. These machines really helped speed up the making of drawers. Big problem though, people had been trained for years to look for the tongue and groove joint and so they did not buy the furniture with the Knapp joint easily. With in about 30 years this joint was no longer used. Really helps to date furniture as being made between 1870 and 1900, during the Eastlake period..
  5. Jeff Drum

    Jeff Drum Well-Known Member

    I think the appeal of Knapp joints was their low cost and speed to make when compared to hand-made dovetails. Not sure they are really stronger (I couldn't find reliable info on that score?), but definitely much cheaper to make. And I think the Knapp joints were replaced with machine made dovetails again because of reduced cost after the machines to make factory dovetails were produced, not because of concerns from buyers?
  6. Emily Ellis

    Emily Ellis New Member

    I do not :( I wish I did. But I plan to put one back on it
  7. Darkwing Manor

    Darkwing Manor Well-Known Member

    Doesn't appear to be oak. Maybe a very light mahogany? I think it would look exceptional with a few coats of orange shellac to warm it up.
  8. Jeff, my grandfather who was a master carpenter, among other things, repaired many pieces of furniture damaged by their transport from the north to St. Petersburg, Florida when northerners began to move to the sunny south and pieces of furniture damaged by flood waters and hurricanes. He was always amazed at how little he had to do to restore drawers with the Knapp joint as opposed to the dovetail joint. Also, I have an article somewhere in my files that tells about shoppers for furniture, after the Knapp joint was used, skipping over the pieces with the Knapp joint drawers in lieu of the dovetail joint drawers because they had always been taught that the dovetail was "the" joint to have for fine furniture. But, really, who knows for certain? We weren't there. Appreciate your comments and value your opinion on these matters because of your experience and I am really a novice at many things. Barbara.
    PortableTreasures likes this.
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