How to Date Antique Furniture by Feet [Explained With 18 Feet Style]

The value of Antique furniture depends on its age. In other words, the older it is, the more valuable it becomes. Antique furniture collector indeed knows the importance of dating furniture to get its real value and worth.

According to JobMonkey, antique collectors make almost $45,000 per year. It is undoubtedly a reasonable amount that can increase by selling more valuable products.

The business of antique furniture is indeed progressing every year. The new generation is getting more interested in classic furniture. According to statistics, nearly 63% of millennials preferred buying vintage furniture for their home decor. People usually prefer antique furniture due to its classy, unique, timeless features.

Undoubtedly, You can stuff your room with several plywood furniture pieces, but the charm and class of an antique piece will always make it a class apart.

There are several ways to date a piece of antique furniture, for instance, leg styles, feet, dovetails, and hardware. These factors can provide you with details about the age of furniture pieces. 

Read further if you want to know more about dating furniture by feet. This in-depth article will educate you about furniture feet styles in different centuries and their characteristics. Furthermore, We will also be discussing the oldest furniture foot style and its eye-catching features.

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Key Takeaway

  • You can date antique furniture by observing the foot style.
  • 16th-century furniture was knowns for its elaborated carvings and designs.
  • Bun, Ball, and block are the most common furniture foot designs of the 16th Century.
  • Tressle foot is the oldest style that ever existed, dating back to the middle ages.
  • Claw and Ball, Hoof, and Bracket feet are the most common furniture foot styles of the 17th Century.
  • Trifid and Monopodium feet were commonly used in the 18th Century
  • If you know the actual value of antique furniture, you can sell it according to its worth.

How to Date Antique Furniture?

Feet are undoubtedly one of the most accurate ways to date an antique furniture piece. You can tell a lot about the chair or a table by looking at its foot style, wood quality, and hardware.

Here are a few helpful factors to date an antique piece of furniture by feet.

Compare It With Other Furniture Items.

I know it sounds basic, but comparing your furniture piece with authentic antique furniture can help you identify the age. It is better to choose something with a similar feet style to help you accurately determine the age. Moreover, a sample will also help you compare other factors like hardware, construction, and material.

Wood quality, polish, product finishing, hardware quality, and feet style can allow you to authenticate the age of your furniture accurately.

If your table or chair looks older than the sample piece, it might be from an earlier era. You must remember that there is no hard and fast rule to know the age of your furniture, but comparing it with other authentic pieces can be an effective method.

Identify the Feet Style.

Antique furniture collectors can date furniture instantly by looking at the furniture’s foot style. Every Century has different feet and leg styles that help in dating furniture. You can also know about your furniture’s age by learning more about the feet’ style

Trestle, ball, and bun feet are one of the oldest feet styles that were able to support sturdy and heavier furniture. Similarly, the 18th Century invented new feet styles which were more stylized and ornate.

Check the Wood of the furniture.

The wooden material and carving techniques of chairs or tables can tell a lot about the age of furniture. Examining the Wood on the feet and comparing it with other authentic samples is a good idea.

The old-age furniture was handmade without any sophisticated machinery. If you notice your furniture feet have deep carvings with symmetrical designs, rest assured that it is not an authentic antique piece. It is because even if a skilled wood carver crafts the antique furniture, the woodwork can’t have exact symmetry or carving like the machine-made furniture.

Similarly, in older times, artisans used different types of Wood to create one piece of furniture. It is a big no if you examine the same kind of Wood.

Look for Wood Shrinkage.

Older wood shrinks from the feet and the leg areas. You will notice minor cracks and splitting of Wood on antique furniture.

Additionally, It is a good sign for knowing the age because the more shrinkage and splitting it has, the older it is. New furniture never shrinks; the Wood can break, but shrinkage takes time, determining the age of your antique furniture.

Similarly, dense and round feet signify 17-18th century furniture. Over time, the feet became more intricate and slender, with ornate details and carvings.

Related Read: How to Tell if the Cesca Chair Is Real or Fake? 

Examine the Polish

The polish of the furniture leg and feet can be an essential factor for dating the furniture. The damaged and old polish proves it is an antique one. The polish on antique chairs and tables has a specific pattern that can help differentiate between old and new works. It is classic antique furniture if the polish moves back in ascending order. Moreover, the color of the vintage polish is also different from the new one.

You can look at the polished color of authentic antique furniture and compare the condition with your piece. The irregularity of the paint is a vital sign of vintage furniture as people used to do everything by hand, making it more uneven than machine-coated furniture.

Moreover, old pieces have raw Wood under one coat of paint or polish. It is most likely a new furniture piece if you notice wax polish under your paint’s layer.

Types of Antique Furniture Feet and Their Respective Age

It is better to learn about furniture feet to date them correctly. Feet are the most vulnerable part of furniture that gets most affected with time and shows the exact age. Here we explain different feet styles and their characteristics to help you date them correctly.

Ball Feet

Ball feet were a popular choice in William and Mary. It is a style of furniture popularly known for its elaborate carving and curves.

Key features:

  • Ball foot is one of the earliest antique furniture foot styles. 
  • It has a ball-like shape with a narrow neck.
  • Due to their round shape, ball feet keep the furniture stable and sturdy. Because of this, most heavy pieces like dressers, chests, and sideboards use this style. 

Era: 16th century

ball feet

Picture Courtesy earlyoakreproductions.co.uk

Onion Foot 

During the 17th Century, onion foot was a popular choice for Dutch American-inspired furniture. 

Key Features

  • Onion foot is similar to ball and bun foot. However, it has a more bulging shape along with a flat base. 
  • This style is a common choice for heavier furniture due to its round, supportive shape. 

Era: 17th Century

onion feet

Picture Courtesy pinterest.com

Trifid Foot

The trifid foot is mainly used under a cabriole leg and was a common choice for Queen Anne style and early Chippendale furniture.

Key Features

  • The trifid foot is a variation of a carved foot that looks like an animal paw resting on a base.
  •  It represents three toes or lobes and resembles a mixture of a club pad and a paw foot. 

Era: 18th Century

trfid foot

Picture Courtesy whisperingwoodworks.com

Bracket Feet 

Bracket feet were invented during the late 17th Century; however, they became a popular foot style for heavy furniture by the 18th Century. Hepplewhite and Sheraton furniture styles often use them for their excellent support.

Key Features

  • This style got its name due to its resemblance to a bracket. 
  • The bracket-style is, without a doubt, the most stable foot style for supporting massive furniture pieces.

Era: 17th Century

bracket feet

Picture Courtesy pegsandtails.wordpress.com

French Foot 

Key Features

  • French foot is a slender type of bracket foot.
  •  It is curved outward with a detailed design at the center, making it look like a short version of a saber leg on a table. 
  • The delicate style of the feet is more suitable for chairs or lightweight furniture. On the other hand, bracket foot has more stability and is a common choice for dressers, chests, and heavier pieces.

Era: 17th Century

antique french feet

Picture Courtesy : ncollect.com

Arrow Foot 

Key Features

  • The Arrow foot is like a triangular cylinder separated from the chair with a ring. 
  • Windsor chairs have straight legs, and arrow feet used to go well with them. 
  • Undoubtedly, the Arrow foot is one of the most simple and plain designs that go well with all leg styles.

Era: 18th Century

Arrow feet

Picture Courtesy : dutchcrafters.com

Dolphin Foot

Key Features

  • Dolphin feet look like a fish head with a well-detailed and intricate design.
  •  The furniture with dolphin feet looks very elaborate. Along with that, the carving from the dolphin foot goes up to the leg making the furniture look more ornate. 
  • It was a trendy choice in Renaissance furniture; however, it dates even earlier.

Also Read: How To Identify A Morris Chair? (6 Easy Ways Explained)

Era: 17th Century

dolphin feet

Picture Courtesy thecobbs.com

Bun Foot

Key Features

  • The Bun is a broader form of the ball foot.
  •  It is a practical option for every piece of furniture. Moreover, bun foot also enhances the woodwork of the furniture very well. 
  • In addition, it provides more stability to heavier furniture like a dresser, which was extremely common in the 16th Century.
  • Due to their simple shape and good support, bun feet became quite famous and were a common choice for William and Mary furniture. 

Era: 16th Century

bun feet

Picture Courtesy dutchcrafters.com

Turnip Foot

It was a famous foot design in Jacobean and William and Mary style furniture. After a while, the use of turnip foot decreased, but it became popular again in the mid-19th Century in farmhouse-style furniture.

Key Features

  • Turnip feet gained popularity in the 17th Century due to their intricate yet sturdy build.
  •  It is like a bulb with a thin neck and a ring at the top. The foot expands from the center and curves down into a round base. 
  • The turnip foot is similar to the ball foot; however, it is more decorative.

Era: 17th Century

turnip feet

Picture Courtesy thesprucecrafts.com

Spade Foot

Chippendale furniture commonly uses spade feet due to their robust appearance. Later, it became widely used in Hepplewhite and Sheraton furniture styles.

Key Features

  • The Spade’s foot is rectangular, with a wider top and a narrow base. 
  • It looks like a straight form of the arrow and cylindrical feet. 

Era: 17th Century

spade feeet

Picture Courtesy jansenfurniture.com

Toupie Foot

Key Features

  • Toupie foot, as the name suggests, looks like a spinning top. It is a variation of turned foot style with a rounded top. 
  • The foot has a turning in the middle that narrowly turns at the bottom.
  • Undoubtedly, Toupie foot is a beautiful style that was a common choice in the 17th Century. Furthermore, it is often related to the Louis XIV style.

Era: 17th Century

Toupie feet

Picture Courtesy: buzzonantiques.blogspot.com

Pad Foot 

Key Features

  • As the name suggests, a Pad foot is a simple style with a flattened oval shape on a pad.
  • It is a type of club foot with a pad at the bottom commonly used under cabriole legs in Queen Anne furniture.

Era: 18th Century

pad foot

Picture Courtesy incollect.com

Whorl Foot

Key Features

  • The whorl foot is a type of scroll foot with a spiral-like design on the inner and outer sides of the foot. 
  • It is commonly used under a cabriole leg as it gives a more ornate and decorative touch to the furniture. 
  • The whorl foot, also knowns as Knurl Toe, was developed in the 16th Century; however, it became a typical foot style in the 17th Century. You will find this style in Louis XV, Georgian, and other Rococo-style furniture.

Era: 17th Century

whorl feet

Picture Courtesy pinterest.com

Ogee Bracket Foot 

Key Features

  • Ogee Bracket foot is a decorative type of Bracket foot with its outside edges forming an s curve. 
  • The top of the ogee bracket is outwards, ending in an inward bottom, making a slender shape. Along with that, the ornate curve makes it an excellent choice for Chesters and drawers. 
  • Moreover, Chippendale, Hepplewhite, and Sheraton used this foot style a lot in their furniture.

Era: 18th Century

ogee bracket feet

Photo Courtesy blog.lostartpress.com

Block Foot 

Key Features

  • Block foot has a square or cube-like shape. 
  • It is a common choice for Marlborough leg style, and because of that, it is sometimes called Marlborough foot.
  • Block foot belongs to the 16th Century; however, it became popular in mid 18th Century. You can find this in Chippendale and Queen Anne furniture styles.

Era: 16th Century

blockl feet

Picture Courtesy thesprucecrafts.com

Monopodium Foot

Key Features

  • Monopodium feet resemble an animal’s feet, most commonly a lion’s paw. 
  • It usually has a decorative scroll, carving, or wing on the leg. 
  • This foot style was initially famous for single tables; however, designers started using it for chairs and sofas after a while. 
  • Monopodium feet were undoubtedly a famous choice during the regency and Greek revival furniture.

Era:18th Century

monopodium feet

Picture Courtesy buffaloah.com

Claw and Ball Foot

Key Features

  • Claw and Ball foot style has a shape of a claw holding a ball. 
  • It is undoubtedly an artistic style that takes its inspiration from Chinese mythology. 
  • Claw and Ball foot was a popular foot style in the 17th Century. 
  • It was a typical style for Queen Anne furniture that was more ornate and decorative than the previous styles.
  • Due to intricate carving and detailing, the claw and ball foot was a famous foot style of its time. The claw looks like a paw or an eagle talon. It took excellent craftsmanship and skill to carve it with intricacy and care.

Era: 17th Century

claw and ball feet

Picture Courtesy incollect.com

Hoof Foot 

Key Features

  • Hoof foot is the innovation of baroque-style furniture that was extremely popular in the 17th Century. 
  • It got its name due to its resemblance to an animal trotter, most commonly deer hooves.
  • Hoof’s foot was indeed a perfect choice for the Cabriole leg as it helped enhance the furniture’s outlook and grace. However, by the end of the 18th Century, the Hoof foot was popular with different leg and furniture styles.
  • Queen Anne, William, and Mary and early Louis XV furniture styles most commonly used hoof foot due to its delicate and graceful curve.

Era:17th Century

hoof feet

Picture Courtesy pastperfect.sg

Bottomline

To conclude, Furniture feet are one of the most authentic ways to date antique furniture. It tells you about the furniture era; moreover, the carving and dovetails can also be helpful factors.

If you are an antique collector, correctly dating the pieces can guide you about their value and worth. Furthermore, it will help you sell it at a higher price.

Lastly, if you are planning to buy a new antique furniture piece, don’t worry. Our comprehensive guide will surely help you know its worth and value.

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