Dating antique dressers
Consult websites such as Antique Marks or Kovels to search for the maker identified on any marks or signatures you found on your antique dresser.
Books such as "A Dictionary of Marks: Metalwork, Furniture, Ceramics: The Identification Handbook for Antique Collectors" by Margaret Macdonald-Taylor might help you find out more about the signature on your piece.
You may also discover a real antique or two -- pieces handed down through the family for generations.
Other good sources are secondhand stores, household auctions, and garage sales.
It's easy to spot an antique by the drawers, because joints weren't machine-cut until about 1860.
Many examples of American Empire cabinetmaking are characterized by antiquities-inspired carving, gilt-brass furniture mounts, and decorative inlays such as stamped-brass banding with egg-and-dart, diamond, or Greek-key patterns, or individual shapes such as stars or circles.
The most elaborate furniture in this style was made around 1815-25, often incorporating columns with rope-twist carving, animal-paw feet, anthemion, stars, and acanthus-leaf ornamentation, sometimes in combination with gilding and vert antique (antique green, simulating aged bronze).
If it has only a few dovetail joints, with pins narrower than the dovetails, then the joint was made by hand.
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.Generally, early craftsmen placed a mark on the bottom, the back or inside a drawer.