Factory-Made Dining Table, ca. 1895
I had bought it at an auction because it came from a former warden's home at the North Dakota State Penitentiary, and the house was torn down as they needed to expand the penitentiary, so what they did is they auctioned off all the furnishings from this old Victorian warden's home. It was about 115 years old. So I went to the auction, bought this table, and that's all I know.
When did you buy the table, and how much did you pay for it?
The auction was a couple of years ago, and I paid $300 for the table, plus eight lovely office chairs that went with it. I never use the office chairs, but I definitely needed a dining room table.
So one of your questions earlier was, "Do you think that it was made at the prison, "or do you think that it was something that was bought to furnish the house?” I think that it was probably something that was bought to furnish the house as opposed to made. It is very typical of 19th century factory furniture. During the late 19th century, when this table was made-- probably 1890s-- the furniture industry moves from the Atlantic seaboard over into the Midwest. And from that vantage point, they could harness power from water, they had the natural resources for timber, and they had the railroad systems and the river systems that they could disperse that material all over the place. I think that’s probably it was made in the Midwest, Ohio, Illinois, and then shipped it to rural outposts such as North Dakota. It's a cherry table. The wood is cherry. And it's very typical of the type of furniture that would have been made late 19th century. It's a square dining room table that expands. We have one leaf to it. When we walk down to the skirt, we can see that the leaf doesn't include the skirt, which is a way to save money. So it tells us more about the quality of the piece. We have these fluted columns, this expanded mushroom leg. It's a lot of flash for the cash.
In terms of value, though, again, when I say a lot of flash for the cash, meaning not too valuable. In today's market, not a very expensive piece of furniture. Maybe make $300 to $500 at auction.
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