How to identify tell city furniture?

How to identify tell city furniture?


Tell City Furniture is a well-known brand that has been producing high-quality furniture since the early 20th century. With its distinctive craftsmanship and attention to detail, identifying Tell City Furniture can be a rewarding experience for collectors and enthusiasts. In this article, we will explore the key characteristics and features that can help you identify authentic Tell City Furniture pieces.

Company History

Before delving into the identification process, it’s essential to understand the history of Tell City Furniture. The company was founded in 1865 in Tell City, Indiana, by Frank W. Mathias and his partners. Initially, they produced wooden furniture, but in the 1920s, they shifted their focus to solid hard rock maple furniture, which became their signature style.

Materials Used

Hard Rock Maple: Tell City Furniture is primarily known for its use of hard rock maple. This type of wood is dense, durable, and has a beautiful grain pattern. Look for furniture pieces made entirely or predominantly from hard rock maple.

Finishes: Tell City Furniture offers a variety of finishes, including natural, stained, and painted options. The most common finish is the “Young Republic” finish, which is a warm, medium-toned color. However, they also produced furniture with darker finishes like walnut and mahogany.

Design and Construction

Distinctive Styles: Tell City Furniture has several distinctive furniture styles that can help you identify their pieces. Some of the most popular styles include the “Colonial,” “Harvest,” and “Andover.” These styles often feature traditional designs with elegant detailing and craftsmanship.

Quality Construction: Tell City Furniture is known for its exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail. Look for well-constructed joints, such as dovetail or mortise and tenon, which indicate high-quality furniture. Additionally, inspect the overall sturdiness and solidity of the piece.

Identification Marks

Label or Stamp: Authentic Tell City Furniture often features a label or stamp that indicates the company’s name and location. Look for labels on the back or underside of the furniture piece. The label may also include additional information such as the style number or collection name.

Branding Marks: Some Tell City Furniture pieces may have branding marks, such as a “TC” logo or the company’s name carved or stamped into the wood. These marks can further confirm the authenticity of the furniture.

Research and Documentation

Reference Books: There are several reference books available that provide detailed information about Tell City Furniture. These books often include catalogs, photographs, and historical background, which can help you identify specific styles and pieces.

Online Resources: The internet offers a wealth of information on Tell City Furniture. Websites dedicated to vintage furniture, online forums, and auction sites can provide valuable insights, including images, descriptions, and discussions about Tell City Furniture.


Identifying Tell City Furniture requires a keen eye for craftsmanship, knowledge of the company’s history, and attention to detail. By familiarizing yourself with the materials used, distinctive styles, construction techniques, and identification marks, you can confidently identify authentic Tell City Furniture pieces.