pennsylvania house

What happened to Pennsylvania House Furniture? We have the News!

Pennsylvania House Furniture

Indeed, Pennsylvania House used to be a household name in the fine furniture business. Fine furniture mostly of solid cherry.

Their fine cherry, oak, and maple solid wood furniture graced homes across the country.

Indeed, many people furnished their living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms with fine furniture all bought over time from Pennsylvania House.

Today, no new Furniture Retailer in the country carries their lines. In the years since 2005, the name brand was bought and sold a few times by larger corporations, including La-Z-Boy and Universal Furniture.

Essentially, in this day and age, the only way to purchase Pennsylvania House furniture is through:

  • Vintage stores
  • Used furniture stores
  • Thrift stores
  • Fine consignment shops
  • Online antique stores
  • Craigslist Furniture Section
  • eBay Stores

Pennsylvania House Furniture History

Many people are surprised to learn of the age of the company and the Pennsylvania House Furniture history.

In 1887, the company formed a small workshop-style factory in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Lewisburg is about 60 miles north of the capital of Pennsylvania (Harrisburg, PA). Of course, Pennsylvania, as translated as “Penn’s woods” had many dense and old growth forests.

Thus, the early Pennsylvania House company took advantage of this natural resource. Nearly 90% of all their wood came from within 100 miles of their workshops. Indeed, Lewisburg has earned the nickname of the “Cherry Capital of the World.”

Pennsylvania House Furniture These old growth woods served as a huge asset to Pennsylvania House. Their case furniture, including bookcases, dressers, and dining room tables utilized these old growth cherry trees as their base. From the 1930’s through the 1970’s, their cherry furniture gained huge popularity from the middle and upper classes. Certainly, their maple wood furniture, walnut furniture and even pine furniture found homes across the country as well.

People recognized the quality and density of their lines and they admired the classic and traditional styles. However, Pennsylvania House offered many styles of furniture. Eventually, they expanded their offerings from the Classic Colonial styles to reproduction Victorian pieces, and even a line of streamlined “Modern” furniture in order to remain current in all parts of the country.

At this point in history, American workers and craftsman proudly made each piece domestically within the Lewisburg factories.

As one of their early Furniture Catalogs states,

“In a world committed to shortcuts, Pennsylvania House still takes the time.
Because we’ve got some very strong ideas about quality and value.
We’re old fashioned enough to believe that the things people make should be made to last.
And our things do.”

Certainly, this sums up the Pennsylvania House ethos.

Globalism Causes US Domestic Furniture Companies to Struggle… and Collapse

Like many American companies, a new global marketplace challenged domestic furniture companies.

By the 1990’s and 2000’s, Pennsylvania House struggled dismally to compete with the low prices of furniture imports. Of course, as China and Mexico grew their manufacturing systems and developed their economies, American companies struggled to compete on price.

As workers from the bottom-up felt the pinch, sales and profits decreased across the board. Middle Class America faced a deep decline. The Post War economy that had boomed and flourished now fizzled and people lost their jobs and pay.

Once an affordable staple, now solid wood furniture found itself a dead genre or an absurd luxury for most middle class Americans. Pennsylvania House Quality

By 2005, La-Z-Boy purchased the remains of Pennsylvania House. By the end of that year, they moved the entire production of PA House furniture overseas. La-Z-Boy treasurer, Mark Stegman, did not take this move lightly. He realized full well that this move would mean the loss of 450 jobs in the Lewisburg area.

At that time, even he and his staff signed a US petition to impose duties on furniture imports from China. However, he said the duties approved by the U.S. government were too low to make a difference anyway, according to this article in The Morning Call by Kurt Blumenau. Mark Stegman stated, “We were one of the few companies that stood up and went to bat for our employees.”

Pennsylvania House and Universal Furniture

Although La-Z-Boy attempted to salvage the popular designs and brand name of Pennsylvania House, apparently their move to produce overseas did not appease old customers and fans.

Likely, the poor quality of this “new” Pennsylvania House furniture did not satisfy their former clients. Indeed, high quality solid wood furniture attracted people to the brand originally. New customers likely saw no difference between the “new” Pennsylvania House and cheaper alternatives made in factories across China.

PA House furniture In other words, “Pennsylvania” was taken out of Pennsylvania House.

By 2007, just a few years later, La-Z-boy sold the rights to the name to another company, Universal Furniture.

Sadly, Universal too struggled with the Pennsylvania House name and brand.

Today, the Universal Furniture website makes no mention of the Pennsylvania House brand. Nor, do they use any logos, stamps or insignia. A search on their site produces a selection of dressers, beds and nightstands, yet they seem to bear little resemblance to vintage Pennsylvania House furniture.

For all intents and purposes, true Pennsylvania House Furniture only exists on eBay, in an occasional Craigslist furniture for sale ad or at an antique store.

PA House Styles, Finishes and Woods

As mentioned earlier, Pennsylvania House has a great reputation for classic, Colonial styles. Indeed, these timeless styles included Queen Anne Dining room sets, classic highboy dressers with solid brass hardware, and beautiful poster beds. Typically, Queen Anne and Chippendale styles dominated the production lines.

Pennsylvania House Value We have sold numerous vintage dining room sets and occasional pieces by PA House. The appeal of Early American Furniture remains strong for many buyers today. Pennsylvania House made most of these vintage dining room sets in solid cherry. And they offered elegant dark glossy finishes, satiny red finishes, or a more muted brown finish in cherry.

Additionally, the company offered Country Colonial styles. You might see the name Pennsylvania House on step back hutches, Windsor style chairs and drop leaf tables. From time to time, you will see a simple rush seat chair set made by the company.

Many times, we sold dining room hutches with reproduction “bubble glass.” The curved glass on these vintage cabinets gives the impression of an antique cabinet. These more informal styles by Pennsylvania House still used traditional design cues and high quality woods in their creation. Pennsylvania House Furniture Vintage

Of course, maple and oak gained some popularity in the 1960’s as a durable and lighter alternative to cherry. A charming knotty pine line by Pennsylvania House also gained a foothold in certain regions, as lighter finishes gathered a following in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Although not as popular as cherry PA House furniture, these collections do pop up from time to time.

Alternative Furniture Styles

Another unexpected style of Victorian influenced furniture by Pennsylvania House occasionally find their way into antique shops as well. Of course, Victorian Pennsylvania House likely features carved floral and leaf hardware and some teardrop carvings along the sides. In many respects, this Pennsylvania House Victorian variety was more of an adaptation of Victorian styles, rather than an exact reproduction. Indeed, the Victorian bedroom sets from Pennsylvania House look decidedly 1970 rather than 1870.

Finally, in an attempt to add a bit of contemporary edge to their furniture, Pennsylvania House made a short-lived line of Danish-inspired designs in the 1960’s. This rare style often features bookcase headboards and more streamlined case pieces. Mid Century Modern furniture by Pennsylvania house has less of a following, but occasionally you can find this line at vintage shops and online stores.

PA House Furniture Values

Pennsylvania House furniture values can fluctuate like any other market. Obviously, trends can have a lot to do with the value of any given vintage furniture piece at any given time.

Currently, we see a slow but steady return to traditional styles (take a look at our article on Bohemian style for an introduction) as a trend. Of course, this could mean that Pennsylvania House will find increasing demand on the resale market.

Pennsylvania House Sofa Personally, I see Pennsylvania House Furniture as a great investment for any family home. Their bedroom sets and dining room sets typically have durable finishes that have lasted for decades. Similarly, the formal sofas and wing chairs by Pennsylvania House have great frames and durable foam that seems to hold up to years of living room use.

Certainly, finding the right buyer in the furniture industry takes a bit of work and research (Check out The Ultimate Guide to Selling Antiques and Used Furniture for a start). However, because Pennsylvania House had a great following, many people have familiarity with the brand.

What to Look for in Pennsylvania House furniture?

As always when shopping for used furniture, you may have questions about what to look for in Pennsylvania House furniture for sale.

Certainly, seeing the brand mark on the inside of the drawer, back of the headboard or underneath the seat cushion can provide reassurance of quality. Pennsylvania House typically did not use brass or paper tags. Instead, they burned their mark inside the drawers. Thus, you can be sure that it was truly manufactured by the Lewisburg Company. Pennsylvania House value

However, foremost when purchasing any used furniture, condition matters. While most Pennsylvania House furniture will come from fine homes and last generations, it is important to check for major flaws and defects.

If old wood furniture is not cared for, it can warp, split or rot. For instance, furniture kept in storage units without climate control can suffer splitting sides and cupping. Keep your eyes open for this type of damage on dining room tables and tall chest of drawers.

Secondly, mold and mildew might appear on furniture kept in closed storage. If you can, take a close look at the feet and legs. These areas can suffer the most if kept on cold concrete floors in basements or storage units.

Pennsylvania House Furniture for saleIn dealing with Queen Anne dressers or Queen Anne servers, long elegant legs can get loose over time. Especially if people drag or push their furniture around while vacuuming, these tall-legged pieces can suffer. Although fixable, this flaw in vintage furniture can make it worth less on the market. You will need some long clamps and some time to fix a loose Queen Anne leg.

Finally, finish issues and blemishes on vintage furniture can be an eyesore. Check to see if any deep scratches or heat rings cloud the tops of Pennsylvania House tables, china cabinets and vintage end tables.

Pennsylvania House Company

Although sadly not in business anymore, many people still have the chance to enjoy the incredible craftsmanship and beauty of vintage Pennsylvania House furniture. These high quality, solid wood pieces from the “Golden Years” of the company’s history will remain an excellent choice for modern homes.

We honor the Pennsylvania House company, as residents of the state and as resellers only a couple hours away from Lewisburg, PA. Pennsylvania House chairs

Certainly, our clients who have purchased furniture made by Pennsylvania House Company have great satisfaction with their choices.

We hope that you consider purchasing a piece of Pennsylvania House for your home when decorating in the future, perhaps to add to your collection, or to start a new journey with fine furniture.

With the beautiful timber, traditional styles and incredible craftsmanship, vintage Pennsylvania House will defy the fast and wasteful “throw-away” culture of today. Certainly, American made furniture from Pennsylvania House remains valuable and stylish today.

Thank you for inviting us into your interior decorating world!

Rachel LaBoheme – Bohemian Furniture

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216 thoughts on “What happened to Pennsylvania House Furniture? We have the News!

    1. Thank you for your insights Robert. I read a bit about the flooding this morning and looked through quite a few photos, devastating for sure. Around the late 2000’s I lived in the middle of the flooding in the Reading PA area caused again by the tributaries being overwhelmed in the area just north of us. Even with the army core of engineers work over the years creating Blue Marsh lake area the flooding was vast. On a positive note many many people still enjoy and seek out the great products produced by Pennsylvania House furniture company and its employees.

  1. I just acquired a Pennsylvania House Windsor type chair that has a writing surface and two drawers (one under the writing surface and one under the chair seat). It appears to be in a very solid condition with very minimal wear. It retains the original knobs on the drawers and the entire piece does not show any sign of ever being repaired. I looked all over the entire piece but can not find any markings that indicate Pennsylvania House. Can it possibly be an earlier piece , before they “burned” the name in? I have seen the exact piece on the internet, but they have the PH markings burned into them. Any idea of the age and value?

    1. Hi Gary, that style chair is a colonial period chair 1600’s. Many furniture companies made reproductions of them. Yours is probably a good maker and the name is rubbed or faded away over time if its older. Vintage very good chairs of the style sell at auction from $75 to $300 depending on condition, any wear, scratches, finish missing will lower the values greatly. If yuo are looking to sell remember you would need the ability to deliver or ship the item to try and make it available to a wider audience. Without seeing the chair and with no brand markings I would place a retail value of $150 to $200. Thats for one in great condition not almost great condition, thanks for the comment and I hope this helps.

  2. I have acquired a Pennsylvania House Vanity. Do know where I can look up any information on when and where it was made, and how much it originally cost? I do not plan on selling it, but I would like to any info that I can find on it. Thank-you for your assistance.

    1. You could buy old Pennsylvania House furniture catalogs on a sites like ebay and browse thru the photos. Usually on the back of a piece will have stenciled numbers, the last two numbers are usually the year is was built in Lewiston PA or New York. The original price on a piece of PA House like you described would have been between $250 and $450 depending when it was sold. If in the 60’s and 70’s that would have been about three times the price in todays dollars. Used in excellent condition the value at a reputable seller would be $485 to $785 depending on shipping costs and condition. At auction in as found condition or worn you could expect topay between $75 TO $150 dollars for an old Pennsylvania House vanity. Hope that helps Cissy

  3. My wife and I worked at a Pennsylvania House plant, located in Penn Yan, New York. The facility was much smaller than the main factory in Lewisburg, Pa. The Penn Yan facility made hard wood furniture, such as tables, dressers, etc. The factory employed approx. 125 people at it’s peak. In the latter years us employees could see it starting to struggle. The company had been sold a couple of times, and the nail in the coffin, was the last buyer, a holding company. The quality started to suffer as well. They even tried to bring in hard wood chairs from Indonesia, have us sand off the label, and imprint the Pennsylvania House emblem onto the chair. You could see things were getting desperate. In 1990, the end came. Penn Yan being a small community of 5000 people, this was a hard blow.

    1. Hi Ronald, thank you for the insider first hand look at what happened to so many of these wonderful furniture companies. Hope all is well with your family and thank you very much for sharing your insight.

    1. I would use a general wood cleaner if that is the purpose to clean your Pennsylvania House furniture. Try Howards Restore a Finish from Home Depot. Then use a good beeswax.

  4. Hi, I have a PA house oak secretary desk which I purchased in 1990. It’s been a prized piece of furniture for me but we are downsizing and I’m most likely going to sell. It has the straight top with dental trim, leaded glass doors and glass shelves , drop down desk area with cubby’s, etc. any thoughts on best places to find buyers for this piece . It looks new, was only looked at and never used! It does have the burned PA house inside top drawer so guessing this is a classic piece before they started decline?

    1. Hi Pam! Yes, if it was made in the 1990s, the desk was no doubt made in the United States. I think your best bet for selling the secretary would be to offer it on Facebook Marketplace. Facebook Marketplace has a really great search capability and has a wide reach. Obviously, I would use the words “solid oak” and “Pennsylvania House” in the listing and show multiple photos. If you don’t like that platform, you could also try Chairish, but if you are not a professional seller or do not have multiple items to sell, it might be a bit tough. Ebay is likely the same… Both of these platforms are really made for long-term sellers. I hope that makes sense! Best of luck to you with your downsizing adventures! Thanks for writing!

  5. We have a dining table passed down through my husband’s family. Rather than the Penn House name brand, it has a cloth tag glued to the underside of the table. Does that say anything about the age of the table?

  6. i would love to sell my very own dining room set table,hutch ,top and bottom and a server all bought in 1959 made of cherry mahogany and still standing tall how would i sell something like this and for how much thanks for the information

  7. Hello! Pleasure to find your site, the information here was very helpful. I have a tall PH hutch which originally belonged to my parents when they were first married, which was 1969. They split when I was young, my mother kept the hutch but several years ago when she moved, she gave it to me. There is an original purchase receipt stapled to the back, I believe.
    My wife and I exchanged the drawer pulls for a style we like better, but kept the old ones. We are considering selling them if they are of value. I do not see a brand name on the back of them – they are a batwing style. Would you happen to know what brands they might have used, or have any information which might be helpful?
    We did also get the hutch repainted a few years ago, as the finish was not in the best of shape. However all of the original glass is intact, and the interior lighting works. It does have the PH mark burned on the inside of one of the drawers, so it is genuine!

    Thank you again for the history on the company. Ironically I now live a bit more than an hour south of where these were originally manufactured.

    1. Hi Chris,
      So glad you decided to keep your mom’s hutch! I definitely like your ideas to change the hardware and repaint the piece to update it to your liking. 🙂 If you decide to sell the Batwing Hardware, I definitely would list “Pennsylvania House Hardware” in the title. You may be able to get about $5-$8 a piece for it online. Hope that helps. Thanks for writing!

    2. Thank you for your reply! That’s great information, we will try that out – I’m thinking eBay to start, and see how it goes.

      Yes we like the new finish, I can send you a photo if you like, just need an email. Take care!

  8. We have a Penna House dining set that we purchased from a couple, about 27 years ago. I don’t know how long they owned it. It is a dark pine trestle table with ladderback chairs with rush seats. Also has large dark pine hutch with dentil molding, two arched glass doors with criss-cross metal dividers (tudor style). I was wondering when this might have been made by Penna House? Their name is burned into the wood inside the drawer, but no numbers with it. I have found no similar furniture like this online, when researching it. Thanks.

    1. I have not seen one by Pennsylvania House as described but I am familiar with the style. Many similar sets were made by Ethan Allen and Bennington furniture company and both of those sets date to the very late 1960’s and early 1970″s.

    2. Hi Diane, i have not seen the set described by PA House but we have seen similar sets made by Ethan Allen and Bennington furniture company and both date to the very late 1960’s and very early 1970’s. So im sure the style was made by Pennsylvania House in the same time period. Thanks and we hope that helps.

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