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Antiques: The differences between Windsor chairs made in England, America

The Windsor chair was first made in the late 17th century in England and about 1730 in America. The chairs are similar, but the English chair legs are less splayed and only the English chair has a splat (a shaped piece of wood) as part of the back. American chairs are made with spindles for the back and to hold the arms. There are many kinds of Windsor chairs with descriptive names like brace back, hoop back, arrow back, fanback, bow back, low back, comb back and scroll back. And some have added parts like rockers or writing arms. Early chairs usually were painted because several types of wood were used. “Brown furniture” from the 18th and 19th centuries is selling for low prices today. The best have original paint, but watch out for repaints. The chair with a nine-spindle back probably is older than one with four spindles. The more spindles on an antique Windsor, the earlier and better the chair. Brunk Auctions in Asheville, N.C, sold a comb-back Windsor with some repairs in 2015 for $1,003.


Q: I’m hoping you can shed some light on a floor lamp I have. The base is stamped “Miller Company” and one of the parts is stamped “Miller U-Dezine.” The base and column are made of pot metal or bronze. Can you give me any information about this lamp and its maker?

A: Edward Miller founded this lamp company in Meriden, Conn., in 1844. Candlesticks, lamps and other products were made. A metal rolling mill was built later. A 1930 ad for Miller’s “U-De-Zine” read “You design the lamp you want,” and called it “The Lamp That Is Made In Separate Parts For You To Put Together.” There were several ways to assemble the parts. A table lamp could be changed to a floor lamp, or a floor lamp to a bridge lamp. In 1985, the lighting division was sold. The company was bought by an affiliate of Diehl Metall, a German company in 2000.


Q: My Lane cedar chest pictures Molly Pitcher firing her husband’s cannon after he collapsed. The serial number is 2575150. Can you tell me when it was made?

A: You can find out when your Lane chest was made by reversing the serial number. Your chest was made on May 15, 1975 (05/15/75) at factory No. 2. Lane cedar chests made before 1987 have the old style locks that can latch shut and trap a child inside. If you haven’t already replaced the lock, you should contact the manufacturer and they will send you a new replacement safety lock. You can find the form to request a replacement at