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.
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
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!
35 thoughts on “Ethan Allen Furniture History, High End Furniture Made in America”
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.
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!
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
Yes, sometimes you just need to add a little moisture to the wood in old vintage furniture, Sandra. Thank you for your comment. 🙂
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!
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
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
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
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?
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.
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.
I love this look of upholstered chairs with a vintage dining table as well, Sandra! Great idea. Thanks for writing.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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