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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Honor-bilt Cedar Chest


cedar chest
cedar chest  
I bought this cedar chest from a Goodwill for $30 about a month ago. I bought it because it still has the original tags on the inside. It also has a hidden drawer at the bottom. I am hoping you can help provide some history or details behind this piece. There are a series of numbers at the bottom, but I do not have that information at the moment. I wasn't able to find a company label or maker, so I have made little progress on my research. I apologize but the photo I attached is a little dark. The design is a "waterfall" and the top has two vertical bands (veneer I assume) that are a diamond pattern.  I am hoping you can help! Thank you!

Lindsay - Honor-bilt was the house trade name for Sears cedar chests. The style of your chest is Art Moderne. The style was called “Art Moderne” when it was introduced in the 1930s. It was popular into the late 1940s. Today we call the style Art Deco, a term coined in the 1960s. Waterfall refers to the shape of the front edge of the piece. The veneer on the top runs from back to front instead of side to side as it does in most styles. As it goes over the rounded edge this gives the effect of “going over a waterfall.”

Your chest was probably made in the mid 1930s. It is made of walnut veneer and secondary woods. The boldly striped veneer is Australian walnut, also called orientalwood or oriental walnut. It was favorite of furniture makers of the period and was used extensively in Art Moderne (Art Deco) style pieces of the period. The wood is found only in a small part of coastal eastern Australia and has not been available in large commercial quantities since World War II.

You did well for $30. Chests like this usually sell at auction in the $200 range.

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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