Dating furniture legs

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Just as the rugged colonial ball turnings had approximated furniture crafted in Europe, machine-lathed pieces of the 19th century mimicked elaborately carved furniture for a new middle class.

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Visit a showroom or look at catalogs to see that it is enjoying a popular resurgence.Relatives include the spool-turned—or, for the well heeled, the barley-twist—Gothic side chair with its arched-back and steeple-turned finials.At the opposite end of the economic scale, spool turnings were often seen on rope-lattice “hired-man’s beds” popular in the early 1800s.With the introduction of steam-powered lathes, spool turning became faster and cheaper.By mid-century, spool-turned pieces were among the first consistently factory-manufactured, mass-produced styles of furniture, and included sofas and drop-leaf tables as well as chairs and beds.

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