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Antique Furniture/vintage dresser-top mirror frame


QUESTION: Hi Mr. Klein,  I'm not an antique collector, but I bought this mirror frame (images attached) on a whim over the weekend for $25 -- more as a souvenir of a trip to South Carolina than an investment. Obviously the mirror has long since disappeared, so I don't expect this to be of value. However, as an amateur wood-worker, I would be interested in trying to recreate the mirror -- if I could figure out what it might have looked like and the type of wood used. I have found a few pictures of swing mirrors on the Internet but nothing similar. I thought the little compartments in the base (glove boxes, perhaps?) were unusual.

If it's not too much trouble, could you tell me what you think or imagine the mirror might have looked like, or point me to examples? Any identification of the possible style and period would also be helpful. Thanks for your time.

Greg Warner

ANSWER: picture not close enough to see wood grain,  use followup function to post close clean in focus picture of the wood.  probably cherry or tulip poplar, possibly walnut.

victorian style and period about 1880.

would make a nice start for a wall mounted pool cue rack too!

check the top of each upright to see if something has been cut off.  

often times these were not open top, sometimes they were.

mirror for this probably had sides and bottom that followed the holder to the top of the wishbone arms then it would start the arch.  profile would have been either flat with flutes and or reeding or a thicker frame with an ogee cross section.

glove boxes or makeup boxes.

nice one that came off a good dresser, possibly a marble top dresser.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Glove box closeup
Glove box closeup  

top right upright
top right upright  
QUESTION: Thanks SO much for your input. This is more interesting than I thought. I've taken several follow-up pictures of better quality. These two show the wood grain and top of upright, which gives a clue about mirror top design. (I'm trying to design and recreate the mirror.) Perhaps the top would have a center spire framed by a repeat of the scrollwork in the base and other features?

Thanks for any further input.

Greg Warner

it is walnut.

pretty much anything you do when making the mirror will gel.
go online and look at victorian dressers.  you will see many with elaborate tops but yours is a more simple design.  a rounded top with a facade with decoration matching the other decorations would do well.

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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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