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Antique Furniture/Antique hutch/china cabinet?


Hutch 1
Hutch 1  
Hutch 2
Hutch 2  
QUESTION: Hello again Mr. Klein. I am hoping you can help me identify this hutch/china cabinet(?) that I purchased a few months back. The only information I have on it is that the person I purchased it from said her father bought it at an antique store in Tennessee in 1970. I have never seen one like it before and absolutely fell in love with it's simplicity. I believe it is oak. There are two locks on the front (one top, one bottom) that are not screwed in but slats were cut and then the locks were pushed into place. I do not have the keys for them unfortunately. The original glass is gone too, the previous owner broke them in a move. The drawer is not dove tailed, rather it is a simple box nailed drawer. The back of the hutch is thin wood. Unfortunately, someone painted the inside top white and as well I think the entire thing at one time was painted and then stripped. There is also a paper tag on the back but it is completely unreadable and only shreds of it left. But, what is unique is the routered circles cut out on each side. I managed to locate a picture of a primitive hutch online that is somewhat similar and states that it is supposedly from the 1800's and from around the same area as this one was.

Please tell me as much information as you can regarding this hutch. Age, wood type, style, and possible value. I have included two pictures, one of front and one of back. If you need further pictures to identify please let me know.

Thank you for your time and knowledge.

ANSWER: it was manufactured around 1900 and is called simply, a kitchen cupboard.  another model like this had a deeper section from the drawers down making them step back kitchen cupboards. locks are mortise locks.  a mortice was cut and the lock inserted.  The wood is oak and being that it is highly unlikely that it was originally painted.  painted items, that is painted from the manufacturer, were of a different wood, often tulip poplar or sweet gum.  there is really no style attached to this form as it was in the golden oak period and could have been made in the grand rapids area, of course, there were thousands of furniture manufacturers operating in the USA at the time but grand rapids was known as the 'furniture capital'.

i would like you to use the followup function and post a picture of where the glass was touching the wood on the inside of the door.  It is possible there was screen wire in the openings making the upper section a pie safe for cooling baked pies or for cooling jellies.  the holes in the sides are indicative of that function.  do the shelves would either sit on a wood or round steel bar or are cut into notches in the thickest part of the sides.

normally cupboards for pies had punched tin or screen wire in the cooling sections and were dedicated for that purpose but as things entered the 1900s there was innovation in furniture manufacturing so it is possible that this had that dual purpose.  too bad we cannot see the label.

this one is better that the common or standard grade with the arch in the door opening and also this has oak sides, many do not.

prices for these range from 450 to 1250 depending on the soundness, condition, surfaces and originality and point of sale.  painted interiors do not hurt these they actually look better with the uppers and even the lower interiors painted.  much cleaner and nicer looking since these were working pieces.

I would probably put 650-750 on it in my shop but again it depends on all the condition factors.

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Upper Door
Upper Door  

Upper Cabinet
Upper Cabinet  
QUESTION: Wow! I am absolutely thrilled to hear this information! Thank you so much! And to think I actually purchased this for $150 from a lady's ad on Craigslist.

I have included two more pictures for you. One is a corner picture of the door where the glass was touching the wood, it is like a slot in which we thought the glass would slide into the door. The second picture is from the inside upper cabinet because you mentioned about how the shelves might sit. All of the shelving inside is also solid oak. The bottom section was never painted and the oak looks beautiful.

If this is truly a pie or jelly safe how would I go about restoring it with tin or screen? Where would I find antique items like that (we are in the Gulf area around Clearwater)? If it is not a pie safe and is a cupboard then what type of glass should I put in the doors?

Thank you again for your time and knowledge! I look forward to your response.

it did have glass in the doors originally.  the glass slid in place from the top.  I have worked on a couple in years gone past like this other than the holes.

We can call this a kitchen cupboard although with the holes in the sides it was versatile.

the condition is great, most are not.  

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robert klein


Regarding American antique, vintage, and collectible furniture I can help with wood identification, styles, age, periods, historical coatings, materials, techniques, repair, restoration, refinishing. Please read instructions for posting.


I have been in the antiques furniture and restoration business and in the sales of American antique furniture for 40+ years and have continued my education in the trade attending workshops and seminars through several organizations.

Professional Refinishers Groop, Int., AIC, Antiques Dealers Association

BA Florida State University BA University of West Florida 1971

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