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History of Kittinger Furniture

Kittinger Furniture (a brief history)

Kittinger is a furniture maker who excels at the artistry of furniture making. If you, like us, has ever dabbled in refinishing a piece, or painting a piece, prepare to feel really inadequate about your work. You know that moment, after you have sanded and stained and waxed and wow maybe after a week or so you stand back to admire your work, here comes the hard cold smack of truth, you are a kindergartner to these guys.

First let me say, Kittinger furnishes the White House. And the Senate. And the House. And lots of foreign embassies. And lots of heads of states private homes and offices. This is serious office dining and reception room furniture. If you thought apprenticeship died with dental work in the middle ages, you are mistaken. People that work in the Kittinger factory in Buffalo New York are people with years of experience under their belt. One family has produced five generations of craftsman and totals over 175 years of experience. That is some furniture-making resume.

Reading Kittinger’s website really made me recognize what hand made artistry furniture is all about. Think about the chair you are sitting in right now. Most likely it is something with legs. If it is a Kittinger chair, each leg was cut into a solid column from the finest Brazilian Mahogany (known sometimes as Prime Mahogany) and turned on a lathe. But then it goes to two hands. The claw foot design was meticulously sketched onto a blue print (using of course tons of research of 18th century design) and followed by a craftsman with a spindle carver. Then this leg goes into the hand of a master carver who adds the finishing touches. It may take two days for this leg to be completed… and we are just talking about ONE leg on ONE piece of furniture.

You can imagine, the rest of any piece of furniture, goes through many hands and days of work before final inspection at Kittinger. The finish alone (remember that old dresser you stripped and restained in a weekend) can include 50 hours of hand work and WAIT for it, three weeks to finish. This is not box store furniture you put together with an alan wrench people, this is Craftsmanship with a capital “C.” Did we mention the President sits at it everyday?

There are tons of exceptional details one can appreciate about Kittinger. When we are lucky enough to find a piece by Kittinger, we ooh and aww at it for usually about an hour (And I don’t think we are alone). The veneers that this company has used are simply breath-taking. Dramatic cathedral grains of mahogany and swirlings in the wood make us believe in a higher power, this simply can not be true nature! Most tables have a complicated and multi-level of banding on the edge. Most cabinets and hutches have fitted glass in each pane. It simply has a great weight and feel to it. The drawers slide perfectly and everything functions as if it just came out of the cabinetmakers shop. This is not simply vintage furniture, this is art. And this is craft. And this is American furniture at it’s best. And America chooses Kittinger. We think you should too. 🙂