Posted on 35 Comments

Ethan Allen Furniture History, High End Furniture Made in America

Ethan Allen Furniture Company – A Brief History

Most people recognize the name Ethan Allen furniture as one of the premier furniture brands in the United States. What is the history of Ethan Allen furniture.

Ethan Allen Furniture The history of the Ethan Allen company reaches as far back as the 1930s when two brothers-in-law purchased a failing furniture company in Beecher Falls Vermont.

History of Ethan Allen Furniture

Plentiful Vermont forests of hard rock maple and pine trees made the Beecher Falls Furniture Company’s product extremely durable and hearty, but challenging economic times eventually led to their bankruptcy.

Nathan S. Ancell and Theodore Baumritter saw potential and struck to purchase the vestiges of the furniture company, renaming it “Ethan Allen” after the Revolutionary War Hero from Vermont. The throw-back to the revolutionary times also fit the new company’s classic colonial lines and simple style.

Although the Etahan Allen Furniture co. still produces fabulous high quality pieces today, Bohemian’s favors Ethan Allen furniture from the 1940’s to the 1970’s. In brief Bohemian’s furniture store considers this period the “Golden Age of Ethan Allen.”

Strong dovetail joinery, thick maple and cherry woods, and classic colonial styles: all hallmarks of Ethan Allen’s best lines. Bohemian’s vintage store loves the traditional shaker and colonial styles that seem to work in all types of homes. In the long run we know that vintage Ethan Allen furniture will last for years to come.

History of Ethan Allen Furniture

Ethan Allen Furniture Take a look at the back of most Ethan Allen furniture from this furniture period and you will find real wood, not particle board or staples. Most cabinets and dressers use wood panels in between the drawers. And most wood grain continues from drawer front to cabinet face in a seamless fashion. As a general rule, Ethan Allen of this time period is made with native United States forest woods, not imported woods from Asia. Above all and more specifically, Ethan Allen furniture is made of New England’s prime growing forests. Hard New England winters produce slow growing trees and tight grain woods. Not so great of a climate for… well… most things, but Perfect for making furniture!

Rachel F.

Posted on 35 Comments

35 thoughts on “Ethan Allen Furniture History, High End Furniture Made in America

  1. Hi.

    I have my parents Ethan Allen Royal Charter Oak trestle dining tables and chairs. I beleive it is dated 1976. It is the darker finish, before EA made the finish lighter in the early 1980’s. The table has a few light watermarks. Do you have advice how I can remove the marks without totally refinishing?

    Also I recently purchased the matching Ethan Allen Royal Charter Oak tall clock. The case is in original condition. I am looking for advice about the maker of the clock workings and the best way to have it conditioned and repaired. The hour chime will not stop until the weight runs down. I had a clock repair person out and he tinkered and oiled the clock and gave me a $600 bill. The problem started up again 3 days later and the clock also ran slow after he “fixed” it. When I called again he said he could pull out the works and put in all new for $1,500. He also said as an option he could install a battery powered clockwork for a lot less (cringe). I’m all for restoration and not replacement. Do you have any advice? I’m in Virginia near Washington, DC.

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Michael.
      My best advice on the table is to try a product called “Restore-a-finish” by Howard’s.” (They make different color products but for darker finishes, I would suggest “Dark Walnut.”) You can use it with a soft rag, or a very fine steel wool (0000 grade is the best). Apply liberally and move in the direction of the grain. Then, you can finish with their beeswax product to help protect the table and finish. Again, buff on with a soft rag (an old tee-shirt works best).

      I am sorry about your clock. Our local clock shop does a fantastic job. They are located in Hagerstown, Maryland (probably about 1 hour away from you). Northside Clock Shop is the name, and they are run by the Martin family. I would suggest calling, first. Mr. Martin will either be able to troubleshoot over the phone, or give you instructions to bring the clock in to their shop. (They may also do house-calls, but I am not sure about the price.) When we have had our grandfather clocks serviced there, they do a thorough job and also run the clock for several cycles to double check the accuracy. Sometimes they keep the clock for several weeks. I hope this helps! Best of luck with it! Thank you for writing!

    2. Get Your self some extra fine steel wool and dip it in a 50-50 mixture of olive oil and lemon juice. Then gently rub back-and-forth over the white marks with the grain of the wood. That will erase most of the white marks. Good luck

    3. Yes, sometimes you just need to add a little moisture to the wood in old vintage furniture, Sandra. Thank you for your comment. 🙂

  2. Hi,

    I have a desk that looks like it was made with oak on top and the front facing part of the drawers and maple everywhere else. The whole thing is stained very dark. A drawer is stamped with a maple leaf and made in Beecher Falls, Vt. Curious why they would use a mix of oak and maple. Any thoughts much appreciated!

    1. Hi Heidi! My best guess is that the oak top may not be original to your desk. Usually, especially maple furniture from the 1930s through the 1960s was made completely of maple wood. So, I find it a bit odd that it would have an oak top. But maybe it was a special order! If you would like, please feel free to send me a photo. My email address is available on the contact page. Thanks, Best, Rachel

  3. Hello, I recently purchased a corner hutch that is stamped Ethan Allen made in England. It has a leaded glass window and lions on the base. I can’t find anything on Ethan Allen from England. Looks like an old oak piece. Any help would be appreciated. Thank You

    1. Hi D! I am sorry. I have not heard of Ethan Allen being made in England either. Could it perhaps be a misprint or something related to a collection name by Ethan Allen? Please feel free to send photos to my email (available on the contact page) and I will take a look at it. Thanks so much! Rachel

  4. We have an an Ethan Allen georgian court cherry Queen Anne dining room set that we’ve been searching for at least two added chairs for quite awhile. We can never seen to match them up, but recently I saw two Henkel Harris chairs on a site that seemed to match them pretty good. I didn’t buy them immediately because website pictures can be a tad off. Is it possible to the two companies sold DR chairs made by the same company and are alike?

    1. They can be very similar but the stain color will be different. Many companies make reproduction furniture which copies antiques styles so they do look alike. The size of a chair may be slightly different. We had a few Georgian Court chairs a few months back but they sold. Keep an eye open as they will come up now and then.

    2. I like to use upholstered seat and back arm chairs (Parsons style) on the ends of these tables… It brings some colour up around the table and breaks up all those wood chairbacks. I particularly like the Martha Washington chairs.

    3. I love this look of upholstered chairs with a vintage dining table as well, Sandra! Great idea. Thanks for writing.

  5. I have two bedside tables with the Ethan Allen name stamped on the inside of the drawer. How can I find out more about the vintage and the wood used in these tables. They are very well used and I might consider having them refinished if they are worth the expense.

    1. Hi, your end tables are most likely solid cherry or maple if they are Ethan Allen. If you are handy enough to refinish your tables then of course redo them and enjoy them for years. A refinisher would probably charge more for the work then finding a great set on the secondary market for sale and ready to go into your home. In rough condition at an auction we see them for $10 to $60 a pair, the restoration costs money.

  6. I have my parents Ethan Allen Maple 4 poster frame (header and footer) purchased in 1942. It is in very good shape. What would be the value of these pieces?

    1. In great condition and tight we sell a bed by Ethan Allen for about $600 online if its a queen, a full size bed is about $485. I have not seen your that’s just a rough estimate. Selling one online like Facebook or Craiglist you would expect to get maybe $150. At auction the beds again depending on condition would get between $50 and $400 dependent on the audience. The auction house would probably charge you 25% to 50% commission. A consignment shop would sell and Ethan Allen bed between $250-$450 again depending on the size and condition, expect to pay about 50% commission for their work.

  7. I have an Ethan Allen desks probably from the 1980s that needs refinishing. How do I find out exactly which desk it is and what color options were available at that time. I’d like for it to be as close to the original as possible although, I’m not a big fan of the dark color on it now. I found the number under a drawer but can’t locate any information definitely associated with it.

    1. Hi Alice! If you really want the Ethan Allen Desk to look original, I suggest purchasing an Ethan Allen Catalog from the 1980s. Many are available on Ebay from $20-$40. Even if you don’t find the exact model, you should be able to get a good idea on the colors and finishes that were available during that decade. I would recommend Mohawk Brand finishes and lacquers for your refinishing job. They are fairly easy to apply and tend to look great on vintage Ethan Allen Furniture. Minwax is another good company for stains. Best of luck! Thanks for writing!

  8. Hello, I came across a Baumritter New York pie/Drop leaf with the sliding arm underneath , looks like maple—it does not say ethan allen on it —would that then be from about 1938, before they officially stamped ethan allen on it—there is one for sale online but that one is marked ethan allen, baumritter and the model numbers are different, also the leafs do not seem to have a sliding bar underneath

    1. Hi Michelle. It sounds as though it could be from before 1938, but I am not entirely sure. When I have seen the Baumritter Ethan Allen stamp it was from the 1960s-1970s collection that reproduced some Early American styles. It is odd that it is not marked Ethan Allen as well, though… Does the font and writing have any resemblance to the later 1970s marks? Thanks for reading.

  9. Hi! I recently bought a home and as I was bringing in my furniture that was in storage I noticed my coffee table legs were a bit wobbly so turned it over and noticed a stamp that said Ethan Allen First American maple and birch nutmeg then other numbers. I got it at a garage sale in 2010 for 20 bucks maybe? So my question is does it have value? I plan on keeping it because its so sturdy anyway!

    1. Keep it and enjoy your find. With loose legs the piece would not have any real value on the open market place (maybe $10-$20 bucks)

  10. Hi, I just purchase an Ethan Allen dining room set and didn’t notice that a spot in the finish looks like it was melted with nail polish or something that would melt the finish. I was wondering if anyone know what type of finish they used way back in the 1970 or 1980. Thank you.

    1. Most likely it would have a lacquer or polyurethane as the top coat. You could try to use a product called wipe on poly that is available at the large big box hardware stores, it may be hard to blend in unless the entire table top is refinished.

  11. I have a drop-leaf dining room table that my folks bought when they were married 65 years ago. It says Ethan Allen by Baumritter Made in Vermont. Would you be able to tell me any history in this piece, what kind of wood it might be, and what it’s value might be? I was thinking about having it refinished. It would be quite a job! Would it be worth the cost to do that?

    1. Much of the Vermont Ethan Allen furniture was Maple and Birch from the northern Vermont area, hard rock maple. The line was popular in the beginning of the 1970’s. The Baumritter line does not get much value at times at auction but sturdy useful furniture for sure, solid wood. If you love it and have someone inexpensive that can refinish for you then sure do it. If its expensive i would just look for a similar Ethan Allen table on the market and purchase that one.

  12. When I shopped Ethan Allen in the 1980’s everything was cherrywood or mahogany or some other quality wood but now most pieces do not identify the wood and I noticed the items I purchased recently seem to be very soft wood. What year did they stop using the better woods?

    1. Hi Deborah, great question. To stay competitive many quality furniture brands began importing many pieces of furniture and staining or finishing them in the USA starting in the 1980’s. The practice grew in the 90’s and the last 15 years the practice has grown out of control, even the stuff made i the USA is not usually very good. Fine cabinet shops have been the last places of truly quality made american solid wood furniture. The prices of these shops would scare many consumers and they have been closing quite regularly. Ethan Allen we notice has been using the name Made in America on some pieces and have introduced many imported pieces and they have also begun selling online direct to consumer to cut out the middlemen (furniture stores) in the hope of staying competitive. When we look to purchase good quality wood furniture brands for our store the dates seem to end in the late 1990’s, overall we love the quality from late 19060 up to the mid 1980’s. Imported furniture is usually made of fast growing undried or aged wood. Old growth , slow growth wood is very desirable.

  13. We just received two small end tables from my Dad. They have a stamp in the bottom in the shape of a maple leaf. Inside the leaf it says made in Vermont and underneath we think Beecher Falls. Does this like a trademark you are familiar with? Your article is the only one I can find with anything relating to Beecher Falls.

    1. Hi Gretchen! Yes, I would say your end tables were made by Beecher Falls Furniture Company, which was purchased by Ethan Allen. We had a gorgeous maple dresser with the same mark maybe 5 years ago and if I recall, the Beecher Falls Furniture Company did use that Maple Leaf Stamp. Enjoy the end tables. No doubt they are made of rock maple and nicely made! 🙂

  14. I have what looks like a birch coffee table that’s stamped Beecher Falls Vermont. Can you tell me what value it might have. Thanks

    1. Hi Kathy!
      Coffee tables in our shop are usually priced between $150 and $400 depending on the age, quality, style and condition. I would say a Beecher Falls Birch or Maple coffee table would probably fall in that range as well. Thank you for reading! Best, Rachel

  15. My husband Arni Ares and i have his mom’s coffee table and end tables that his mom bought before he was born in May 11,1942 he thinks she got yhem around 1939 and 1941 before she got Pregnant with him .

  16. Not really a comment, but a question. I recently picked up a small, round, pedestal table that is marked “Ethan Allen Made in England”. Can you tell me when Ethan Allen starting making furniture in England? Or, is this a separate company using the same name? Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi Roberta, it is Ethan Allen furniture from about the 1970″s I believe. Most was oak and based on English furniture designs. Usually Ethan Allen made “colonial” style american furniture and most of their collection names reflect that. They do now like most companies import goods as well or at least some items for construction. I did find this on the web as well “Quality solid oak, made in England, the Royal Charter collection featured designs based on English Jacobean and Tudor designs.” During the 70’s from what we have come a cross they seemed to be buying out good furniture manufacturers like “Kling” and even kept the name on some pieces. We have had pieces from the 1940’s that are identical to pieces made in the 1970’s.

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