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Most vintage furniture collectors know the Heywood-Wakefield company for its Victorian wickerwork and streamline moderne designs, but it has been an innovator in other styles throughout its history.
The Massachusetts company’s roots go back to 1826 when five Heywood brothers began making wooden chairs and tables in their family shed. They introduced the company as B.F. Heywood & Co. in 1835.
After joining forces with local rival Wakefield Rattan Company in 1897, the newly formed Heywood-Wakefield successfully made woven items and early American designs. After wicker furniture fell from favor, the company hired art deco designer Gilbert Rohde in 1930, who gave its colonial pieces some deco flair and created sleek bentwood chairs.
Characteristics and Styles of Heywood-Wakefield Furniture
The company kept up with consumers’ shifting interests and produced furniture in other styles, including streamline moderne, Swedish modern, and mid-century modern. This forward-thinking furniture made from 1935 through 1966 has Heywood-Wakefield’s trademarks of soft edging and distinctive, elegant curves. It is light yet substantial and has little adornment besides artful knobs and drawer pulls. These minimally designed pieces were built to last and made in light-colored hardwoods with blonde, champagne, and wheat finishes.
Another attraction is that these different modern styles look polished as a set. Yet, similarities in style, shape, and color also help them function well as individual pieces that work in both large houses and small apartments.
Heywood-Wakefield’s well-crafted furniture has weathered the years well and has found a new market with today’s collectors. The company made a wide variety of collectible pieces, including armchairs, baby carriages and strollers, desks, dressers, fern stands, pedestals, settees, rocking chairs, and tables.
If you want to learn more about Heywood-Wakefield, check out our WorthPoint® tools, such as our Marks database and Dictionary page on the furniture company.
Adina K. Francis has been a writer and editor in the antiques and collectibles field for more than 20 years. She has a bit of an obsession with the Victorians and thinks that dogs are one of life’s greatest gifts.
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