Dovetail Antiques: Comparison of Old & New Wicker


* There are many significant differences between old and new wicker.

* One unique aspect of old wicker furniture from the 1870’s – 1890’s era is the exotic nature of the furniture. The origin of the reed itself, rattan palms over 300 feet long, grown and harvested in jungles and swamps throughout the Orient during the 18th and 19th century, conjures up intriguing thoughts of the Far East.

* The fascinating mysticism of the Far East seems to have been infused in the wonderful, unique, and imaginative American Victorian wicker creations that often times incorporate Oriental designs, colors, and accents.

* The superior quality reed from that time period can’t be matched today. This was the select material used by the American wicker furniture makers during the late 1800’s, the ‘Golden Age of Wicker’. Victorian craftsmen created designs that stand the test of time. Companies like Heywood Brothers and Company, Wakefield Rattan Company, and Heywood Brothers and Wakefield Company employed the best designers and craftsman, turning out superior quality wicker furniture.

* Much of the wicker today is a mixture of styles and lacks the proper proportions. The fine details that are so prized by collectors of antique wicker furniture are not found on new wicker pieces. They are mostly mass-produced, some under questionable conditions. The framework of new wicker furniture is not hardwood and the woven materials are inferior compared to the reed from over 100 years ago. Many new wicker products are made of synthetic materials. New wicker is inferior in materials, craftsmanship, construction, and design. It will not endure everyday use for an extended period of time, nor will it retain any investment value.

* Choosing antique wicker furniture over new wicker furniture is clearly the best choice. It has an aged, natural quality and charming character. It was created by expert American craftsmen that took great pride in their work. American antique wicker furniture will always be a good investment that will provide lasting pleasure.