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What are some facts about early American Heywood-Wakefield furniture?

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Quick Answer

Heywood-Wakefield furniture was originally produced by two different companies, Heywood Brothers and Wakefield Rattan, beginning in the Boston, Massachusetts area about 1840. Both companies originally manufactured popular Victorian wicker furniture, primarily chairs; and, the companies merged in 1897. According to Heywood-Wakefield, the company enjoyed tremendous success with its streamlined, modern furniture line, manufactured from the 1930s through 1950s, and its Old Colony line, manufactured intermittently from 1929 through the 1960s.

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The Heywood-Wakefield streamlined, modern furniture line manufactured in the 1930s, 40s and 50s remains the most highly collectible. This furniture was originally designed by the American modern master Gilbert Rohde. The furniture appears in champagne or wheat-blond finishes with distinctive curvilinear details. Presenting a complete range of solid wood furniture, including dining room, living room and bedroom pieces, the modern line survived both the Great Depression and WWII; and, it was manufactured through the 1950s.

Though carrying the Heywood-Wakefield name, furniture from other periods retains value only as an ordinary example of antique or vintage furniture. These collectibles include the early 19th century wicker or rattan furniture and furniture manufactured from 1929 through the 1960s, labeled Old Colony in an Early American style. Heywood-Wakefield also manufactured school desks, chairs and theater seating throughout the 20th century. Contemporary Heywood-Wakefield reproduction streamlined modern furniture is still manufactured in the U.S.

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