Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Duncan Phyfe


dining table
dining table  

dining table 2
dining table 2  
does this look like a genuine Duncan Phyfe? - no mfr markings that I can find. - it has a butterfly popup leaf (18") and a wire that runs to one side to release the latch that engages when the table closes up.  measures 60 x 42 without the leaf. Thanks.

Phil - I can assure you the table is not a genuine Duncan Phyfe. It is a reproduction of an 18th century English table.

Duncan Phyfe (1768-1854) was a Scottish cabinetmaker who came to America in 1784 changing his name from Fife to Phyfe. He served his apprenticeship in Albany, NY before moving to Manhattan in 1790.

He worked in all the popular styles of the day including Federal, Neo-Classic, Empire, Regency and Rococo Revival. The style he didn’t work in was “Duncan Phyfe” because there was not then and is not today a style by that name. Somehow his name became attached to any piece of furniture from any period that has sweeping legs extending from a pedestal or a frame. While it is true he made some furniture in that style, so did every other cabinetmaker in New York. The sweeping legs were actually in style before Phyfe was born. It was an English Georgian style used in pedestal dining tables just after the middle of the 18th century.

The folding leaf in your table was introduced into American furniture in the 1930s and was most popular in the 1940s. Your table is factory made from that period and is a fairly generic style.

Thanks for writing.

Fred Taylor  

Collectibles-General (Antiques)

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Fred Taylor


I will attempt to answer questions about American antique furniture, including construction details, style, period, manufacturers, care, repair and storage. I do not have any background in appliances, musical instruments, sewing machines, trunks, lighting, clocks or children's and baby furniture and will not respond to questions about those items.


I ran an antique furniture restoration business for twenty years. I am a nationally syndicated columnist on the subject of antique furniture for such publications as Antique Week and New England Antiques Journal. I have produced one video on the subject of furniture identification and my book "HOW TO BE A FURNITURE DETECTIVE" is now available.I have also published articles in Antique Trader, Chicago Art Deco Society, Northeast Magazine, Victorian Decorating and Lifestyles, Professional Refinishing, Antiques and Art Around Florida and Antique Shoppe. You can visit my website at

BSBA Finance, University of Florida, MBA Finance, University of Florida

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