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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Built by John Since 1891


Bouknight wrote at 2007-08-21 06:02:10
Hello; I have a lovely bedroom set Built by John Portland. It is a green painted set. I acquired this set in 1963-64.

Mark Hawkins wrote at 2007-10-22 18:45:16
I have yet another piece of the mysterious "Built John Since 1891" with the large J.

It's a small writing desk. Obviously old. Put together with only with tongue/groove and glue with two old screws for the hardware. It has a few brad nails that were added later.

 The piece was rescued from a junk shop in San Francsico, CA in 1985.

I'd love more info on "John J"

mark hawkins, bartlett, IL

Kris wrote at 2007-12-31 05:34:40
Portland is quite possible. I saw a posting on Craigslist for a "Built by John" piece with a "Star Furniture Company Portland, ORE" mark. I just bought a "Built by John" highboy for $40. Tongue-and-Grove joints at the fronts of the drawers, dovetailed in the back. A wide mix of woods (a dark, red wood for the main body... a wood that reminds me of silkwood in how the light hits it, but is darker and more burled... a red mahogany stained top). The piece is somewhere around 60 years old according to the former owner. There is a faded stamp on the back of it that says "from J. H. Wiley". The only record I can find for this refers to a furniture shop in San Francisco (how this piece got to Florida, I don't know). Unfortunately, the mahogany-stained top is absolutely shot (gouged, crudded up... something was put on it that altered the chemistry of the finish for about 50% of the surface), and will have to be re-finished. But the piece seems to have been very well-made and it has beautiful proportion and detail. It sounds very likely that wherever John was, it was in the far West, and he may have had a limited distribution. There are some quirky things about the construction, so I think it was handmade, possibly by a smaller company. Nevertheless, it has the potential to be a stunning piece once it is fixed up a bit... something for a high-end bedroom... It's sure taken a beating in the past 60 years...

Eve wrote at 2008-05-07 00:09:03
I also have a Built by John since 1891 piece.

I purchased it in 1976 in Santa Cruz at an

estate sale.  It is tongue and grove constucted

with no nails or screws in the main piece. It

has spindle legs and an old mercury mirror, with

handpainted roses on the top of the mirror, and

at the top of the vanity back piece.  All the

hardware is original.  I would love to know

the value of these pieces, and more about the


Pdub wrote at 2008-07-03 05:03:04
Hi, I just acquired an old side buffet that has the green sticker built by John since 1891. Additionally, the sticker says "inviting furniture for restful homes" in red at the bottom of the green sticker. I bought it at a garage sale for $65 in Spokane. The top seems to be a hardwood that reminds me of maple. Tongue and groove as others mentioned. The back of the buffet also has a number that was stenciled in white on the back. My husband did a search and found that BP John: Bruno Paul John had a furniture company in Southern Portland,supposedly not especially valuable.

The company made it through the depression but wasn't widely known forfine furniture.

valerie wrote at 2008-08-23 04:21:30
I purchased a wonderful chest of drawers from the goodwill for $20.00 over 30 years ago. It has a "built by John" green sticker with the big J on the right side also.  What i love about this piece is that it has "hand-carved inlaid smiley pineapples"  I don't know what they are really called. I love this piece of furniture, it's well made & very warm. I would love to know more about it's history.

Ed wrote at 2008-12-08 04:36:04
wow, My dad use to work for B.P. john furniture in the 60's and early 70's..  its been a long time since i've heard that name muttered

eric wrote at 2009-01-07 02:36:22
I live in Eugene Oregon and have a dresser and make-up table with the same label in good shape.  I was wanted to know about them.  They look like they are from the 20-30's.  I got them from an old family from the area.

Bill L wrote at 2009-06-14 23:38:29
 I have a dining room set and matching buffet. the same green sticker is found on the inside of the buffet drawer. I inherited the set from my grandmother. My Aunt said she thinks it was from the early 1940's and she also thought it was ordered from the Sears or Wards catalog. I have my doubts about that though. I know She had it from before I was born in 1954.

 I too have been unable to find out much of anything else about it.  

John Tucker wrote at 2009-06-28 03:40:56
I purchased a vanity at a garage sale today.  The owner told me her mother got it (gift or purchased?) in 1930.  It's the full set with desk, mirror and stool.  Lucky fantastic condition.  Construction is a lighter wood like a pine or poplar and plywood.  Veneered in two different kinds of mahogany....a regular grain, and what appears to be a birds eye.  Which I've never seen before.  Construction is solid....but not really 'high end'.  No dove-tailing or fancy joinery.  Design is GREAT and the drawer pulls are full art-deco.  Has the Built By John sticker/logo.  Looking forward to finding more about this company.

Teresa Planton wrote at 2009-07-14 04:47:18
I received a bedroom set from my aunt in 1986 that has the Built by John sticker on it.  I also bought a chair from the Goodwill several years ago. I've wondered who John was all this time.  My Aunt got the set from a neighbor, but unfortunately she painted over the green and brown original Paint job.   There were flowers in the middle of the headboard.  Thanks for all the info.

Marilee Hammer wrote at 2010-03-17 17:24:07
I also have a bedroom set with the same Built by John since 1891.  This bedroom set was purchased in 1936 from Fred Davis Furniture of Denver, Colorado for my mother.  Maybe this gives you info on the "Built by John" info.

Debbie H wrote at 2010-07-09 18:27:31
I purchased a complete bedroom set of furniture approximately 10 years ago at an auction in Aurora Or. I found 2 green stickers with the Built by John since 1891 logo. The set consists of a vanity with 2 drawers on each side and a drawer in the middle. It has an attachable mirror. It also has a high boy chest of drawers and headboard and footboard for a bed. The set also was made with a wide mix of woods and has beautiful inlay of designs on the drawer fronts and mirror. The pieces have the number 1424 stenciled in white on the back. I would love to know the value of this set.

Barbara S wrote at 2012-05-24 22:53:40
I have a similar set to Debbie's.  Purchased at an estate sale in Portland.  Mine set has the vanity - mirror, highboy chest, headboard and footboard, a bench for the vanity and a side chair.

My piece is stenciled NO 180 on the back of the highboy, also has the green stickers.

BP John is well known in Portland lore.  The name John's Landing name originated from the B.P. John Furniture company, which dominated the area in its industrial past.  The following link will give you some reference to Mr. John:

Emilie wrote at 2014-01-23 22:41:47
I also have just acquired as set of "Built by John Since 1891" furniture. I have three pieces - full bed, vanity/dressing table and a dresser. They look like they are from the art deco period to me because of the wheels. I'm planning to resell it. Any ideas on what sort of price range I should list it at?

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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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