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Ethan Allen Furniture History, Fine Quality American Made Furniture

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.
Bohemian’s
www.eBohemians.com



15 thoughts on “Ethan Allen Furniture History, Fine Quality American Made Furniture

  1. 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)

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.
    Thanks

    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! 🙂

  6. 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

  7. 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 .

  8. 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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