Dating furniture casters
Genuine hand made dovetails like these were the standard of good furniture craftsmanship until about 1870, when American ingenuity developed the pin and cove or round style dovetail, often seen on late Victorian and Eastlake furniture.
When you want to refinish old wooden furniture, the best place to look is the family storeroom: Check the attic, basement, garage, or wherever unwanted furniture has collected.Dovetail joints often hold two boards together in a box or drawer, almost like interlocking the fingertips of your hands.As the dovetail joint evolved through the last one hundred thirty years, it becomes a clue for the age and authenticity of antique furniture.Popular here into the 1890's, these joints never gained acceptance outside of the U. The next technological development in joinery was again American.In the 1890's, American furniture began to be mass produced, with interchangeable parts and speedy production for the growing and affluent middle class.Here is an early example of machine-cut dovetails on a 1920's sideboard from a dining set: European cabinetmakers continued to produce hand-cut dovetails through the 1930's.
Electric power tools, like routers and various types of saws were put into widespread use after World War II in the 1940's.
When the joint is expertly executed, it is a thing of beauty, and a secure joining of two boards that can last for centuries.
A little glue cements the connection, and a good dovetail joint has great strength and durability.
A close inspection shows no irregular saw cuts or variation from a skilled craftsman, but rather a precise and identical manufactured machined joint.
These machine-cut dovetails are as strong and long lasting as the hand-made joints, and became the standard of better American furniture ever since the late 1890's.
These routers were ancestors of the electric precision tools of today, and could be used to rapidly cut a machined dovetail joint.