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Furniture of the Olden Time

Frances Clary Morse

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Book Excerpt: 

THE chest was a most important piece of furniture in households of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It served as table, seat, or trunk, besides its accepted purpose to hold valuables of various kinds.

Chests are mentioned in the earliest colonial inventories. Ship chests, board chests, joined chests, wainscot chests with drawers, and carved chests are some of the entries; but the larger portion are inventoried simply as chests.

All woodwork—chests, stools, or tables—which was framed together, chiefly with mortise and tenon, was called joined, and joined chests and wainscot chests were probably terms applied to panelled[11] chests to distinguish them from those of plain boards, which were common in every household, and which were brought to this country on the ships with the colonists, holding their scanty possessions.

The oldest carved chests were ma. . . Read More