Three Primary Antique Wicker Furniture Eras

In this post, I am resurrecting a regular series I began in 2009, talking about one specific topic–Antique Wicker Furniture.

wicker rocker plant support

Wednesday seemed to be a good day of the week to focus on this topic and so began the Wednesday Wicker Wisdom series of posts.

Here are a few pictures showing some pieces from the three primary antique wicker furniture eras of the Wicker Furniture Industry that began right here in the United States.

The three primary wicker furniture eras are:

  • The Victorian Era (1860s-1900s)
  • Turn of the Century (1900s-1917) 
  • Machine Age (1917-1940s)


The Victorian Wicker era is complete with elaborate ornamentation like curlicues and beads, complicated, handwoven caned back panels in fancy spider-web or Star of David weave, finished off with close-woven solid sheet cane seats, so as not to detract from the fancy backs and arms. Many times the backs were also woven in intricate, special, stylized motifs like violins, moons, stars, fans, sailboats, and animals.

RELATED: Antique Wicker Furniture Motifs

Victorian wicker heart-shape settee
Victorian Era Settee
victorian reed wicker chair
Victorian Era Reed Wicker Chair


The Turn of the Century era included the short-lived Art Nouveau, influence based on natural forms, characterized by flowing, wavelike lines.

These pieces were all handmade, done with natural materials and lasted until shortly after the turn of the 18th century.

It also included the invention of the man-made twisted paper fibre of 1904, which became known as “paper wicker or paper fibre.”

Turn of the Century wicker was also made up of the Mission-style wicker introduced by Gustav Stickley, which had straight lines and open latticework, plain styles and designs.

1910s wicker Bar Harbor chair
1910s Bar Harbor wicker magazine chair
Heywood-Wakefield sewing cabinet restored
Late 1910s Heywood-Wakefield reed wicker sewing cabinet, restored.
Heywood Brothers and Wakefield Company- 1920s Reed Wicker Lamp
Heywood Brothers and Wakefield Company lamp label
Heywood Brothers and Wakefield Company Lamp Label

MACHINE AGE–1917-1930s

During the Machine Age of the wicker furniture industry, came the invention of the mechanized Lloyd Loom which eliminated much of the manual workforce.

Paper rush or paper fibre wicker was now mass-produced and included a wire core center for spoke support on backs and under the arms, weaver strands were still used without the wire core.

Upholstered backs and seat cushions were now the rage, eventually incorporating inner-spring seats.

At the tail end of the Machine Age was the Art Deco style, utilizing paper fibre rush characterized by fancywork of multi-colored diamond patterns woven into backs of chairs and settees.

And stick wicker was also introduced at this time with its simple designs using round, skin-on rattan poles. Stick wicker sets were frequently made in sets with tables, chairs, couches and lamps to use either inside or on a covered porch.

RELATED: Paper Fibre Rush Wicker

1920s Lloyd Loom wicker baby cart
Lloyd Loom wicker baby cart
Lloyd Loom 1930s wicker couch
1930s Lloyd Loom wicker couch
Art Deco paper wicker rocker
Art Deco painted paper wicker rocker
1930s stick wicker
1930s Stick Wicker

RELATED: Richard Saunders–Wicker Restoration, Certified Wicker Appraisals

If you’d like to read some of the older Wednesday Wicker Wisdom posts, you can click on the category in the sidebar or use this link Wednesday Wicker Wisdom and you’ll come up with quite a few. Enjoy!

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6 thoughts on “Three Primary Antique Wicker Furniture Eras”

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    Thanks so much for this! My mom has a wicker chair she got in the 1980s from a woman who was cleaning out her attic and she recently gave it to me. It was a staple in my house growing up and she rocked all the grandkids in it. I have had the hardest time finding it, even dating it, and your blog helped me a ton! I will be checking out the rest of your site for more info as I work toward refinishing this chair! Thank you!

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    We bought a settee – couch with two wicker rockers from a gentlemen who said that it had been his grandmothers and he believed it was from at least the 1920’s as he has photos of her sitting on it during that time period. It has springs in the seat area and has the diamond pattern woven in it. The chairs are rockers. It has very little damage to the wicker and may need some springs repaired. We live in the Fayetteville Arkansas area and would like to know if you have any references for someone who could help us with some restoration. It is all white and very pretty.

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      Hi Susan,

      How wonderful that you have the provenance regarding your wicker purchase! Usually, the inner springs in removable seat cushions were used in the wicker furniture made during the 1930s but it’s possible that yours might have been made during the late 1920s.

      Since 2004, I’ve had a National Furniture Repair Directory™ set up on my site which lists repair experts from all over the country in the fields of Wicker, Caning, Refinishing and Upholstery. You can find the Furniture Repair Directory™ at the top of every page in the navigation area.

      Be sure to check both the Wicker, Chair Caning, and Upholstery categories since there’s cross-over between disciplines. So happy to be of help for you here, Susan. Thanks for visiting my site and reading the blog!

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    Robyn Ballentine

    I have morethan a truck load of basket weaving materials… everything from kits to bases to handles to reeds to things to decorate them and patterns galore… looking for someone to buy it all.. 8562379930. Thank you Robyn

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      Robyn, have you checked with the many basketweaving guilds to see if their members would like to buy your stock of weaving materials? Go to my Links page of Basket Guilds where you’ll find a list of guilds across the US and some in Canada too. You didn’t mention what state you live in, but most states have basketry guilds. Hope you find someone!

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