She is my all-time favorite find, and I knew she was special the minute I saw her. I’m usually apathetic about Victorian furniture, but given the detail, I went to see her anyway. She was being used as a TV/Entertainment center, LOL….
After a light cleanup, I realized that the “wooden feet” were actually cast brass with wood balls in the mouth of the lion—early caster wheels. And the dragons? They’re brass, too. And those wood turnings! I knew these features were special, and unique. What was the backstory, here?
Sure enough, a little new-age (aka internet) Nancy Drew sleuthing and I had the answer, courtesy of a local (well, Eastern US) expert named Paul Tucker. This table was made in the late 1890’s by the Merklen Bros Furniture Co of New York. They patented the designs for the dragons and the lion’s head feet. Paul sent me the patent drawings.
And the best part? He had never, ever seen the dragon shelf support actually USED in a finished piece! He had also never seen this bi-level shelving design used. See, I told you she was special—likely a “special order” or exhibition piece for this family of 5 woodturning brothers.
And so, she’s my fave, and she’s not going anywhere, staying right here in my foyer where she makes me smile every single day. I appreciate her intricate details, her quirky brass griffins, and especially, I love her story.