In this post, I am resurrecting a regular series I began in 2009, talking about–Antique Wicker Furniture.
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.
Of course, there were many more years that wicker furniture has been made over the centuries but these three are the most predominant and popular.
The three primary wicker furniture eras are:
- The Victorian Era (1860s-1890s)
- Turn of the Century (1900s-1920s)
- Machine Age (1920s-1940s)
VICTORIAN WICKER 1860s-1890s
The Victorian Wicker Furniture era pieces were made up almost entirely of rattan reed poles or steam-bent hardwoods for the frames, round and flat rattan reed pith for the weavings and embellishments, and/or wrappings of cane or rattan reed pith.
The Victorian period wicker pieces came complete with elaborate ornamentation like curlicues and beads.
And sometimes, woven motifs on the backs appeared in the shape of sailboats, moons, stars, hearts, violins, initials, and animals. Since this was not done on a great scale, any wicker pieces that do have motifs are considered more valuable than those without any motifs.
Many times wicker pieces were also woven with complicated designs in the backs or handwoven caned back panels and under arms were woven using fancy spider-web or Star of David designs or patterns.
The Victorian Era Wicker Furniture pieces most often had close-woven, solid, sheet cane webbing in the seats.
Solid cane webbing was used rather than the open weave octagon pattern used in the hole-to-hole cane seats, so as not to detract from the fancy embellished wicker backs and arms.
RELATED: Antique Wicker Furniture Motifs
TURN OF THE CENTURY–1900s-1920s
The Turn of the Century Wicker Furniture 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 furniture was also made up of the Mission-style wicker introduced by Gustav Stickley, which had straight lines and open latticework, plain styles and designs.
During the Machine Age 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
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the three primary wicker furniture industry eras of the Victorian, Turn of the Century and the Machine Age. Check out the Wicker Furniture FAQ page if you have questions about your wicker furniture, too.
If you’d like to read some of the older Wednesday Wicker Wisdom posts, you can click on the link or visit the Wicker Wisdom category in the right sidebar and you’ll come up with quite a few. Enjoy!
Please share this article with your friends, family and social networks and tell me in the comments below about any wicker furniture you may have in your family.