Antique Detective: Metal Hardware & Inserts Defined Arts and Crafts Furniture

By Anne Gilbert

Among the most sought after pieces of Arts and Crafts design are those either made of various metals or furniture with metal insets. For example, Stickley Brothers often used hardware inlays in pewter and ebony with a rose design. Some of the decorative accessories were of bronze and hammered silver. Many combined more than one metal.
Copper, usually considered the Arts and Crafts metal of choice offered many hand-hammered examples.
By the 1880s Gustav Stickley was producing furniture that was hand assembled and hand-finished, often with his signature hand-hammered metal hardware.
By 1897 another American, Elbert Hubbard began making hand-made furniture, also with hand-made metal hardware in his Roycrofters Shop. He had initially established his Roycroft printing shop. Shortly after they began making metalware accessories. By 1909 they were making items from copper, silver, brass, silver plate and etched silver and brass.
Lesser known these days is Otto Heintz who combined various metals on decorative pieces. His “Heintz Art Metal Shop” was founded in 1906. Several of his pieces sold for reasonable prices at the auction. A bowl, sterling on green patina bronze, with an applied organic design sold for $350.
By 1905 the Arts and Crafts look in metalware was appearing in silver shops and newly opened workshops from coast to coast. Best known for quality work in the Midwest were the Kalo and Jarvie shops. The Kalo made hand hammered jewelry in copper and silver as well as trays, bowls, desk sets and silver dining ware.
The Jarvie shop, best known for graceful candlesticks, also made copper and brass as well as silver and gold accessories.
In New York the Tiffany Studios output in the Arts and Crafts style was mostly in bronze combined with glass. Desk accessories, boxes, bowls and small desk lamps were made.
On the West coast, craftsmen like Dirk Van Erp created quality metal work, from copper lamp bases to accessories. Another was the Shreve and Company, San Francisco, known for hand-hammered silver.
CLUES: Most metal Arts and Crafts pieces have makers marks. Roycrofters have the name “Roycroft” and their orb symbol stamped on them. Kalo is marked “Kalo” and The Jarvie pieces are either marked in script “Jarvie” or “made by the Jarvie Shop.” Van Erp pieces had several marks over the years, among them “copper shop” or his name. Heintz pieces have an impressed mark “HAMS” within a diamond.
PHOTO: Gustav Stickley, library table PHOTO CREDIT: John Toomey Gallery, Oak Park. IL

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