In the depth of its grain, through all its polish …. – Furnishing Mahogany

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… Mr. Goodchild concedes Lancaster to be a pleasant place. A place dropped in the midst of a charming landscape, a place with a fine ancient fragment of castle, a place of lovely walks, a place possessing staid old houses richly fitted with old Honduras mahogany, which has grown so dark with time that it seems to have got something of a retrospective mirror-quality into itself, and to show the visitor, in the depth of its grain, through all its polish, the hue of the wretched slaves who groaned long ago under old Lancaster merchants. – Charles Dickens, The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices, Chapter Three


In 1681, English Quaker William Penn received a large land grant from cash-poor King Charles II of England, who owed a debt to Penn’s father. They named the province Pennsylvania (Penn’s Woods). Penn arrived a year later, designed a port city where the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers met, and named it Philadelphia, from the Greek philos (loving) and adelphos (brother). Today, the city is still known as the City of Brotherly Love.

Alexander Milne Calder; William Penn atop City Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Modeled 1888

The copious forests in and surrounding Philadelphia had an abundance of walnut, maple, cherry, tulip poplar, pine, cedar, and oak. At the time, most furniture workshops were rather small and run by a master cabinetmaker with the assistance of several apprentices and possibly a journeyman (a skilled worker who has completed an official apprenticeship). [Please see part one: The woods are lovely, dark and deep – Furnishing Philadelphia.]

During the mid- to late-1700s, as Philadelphia developed into the wealthiest colonial city and second largest city in the British Empire, a large community of highly-skilled coopers (makers of casks, barrels, vats, buckets, tubs, troughs, rakes, shovels), shipwrights, wheelwrights, and furniture makers, both immigrants and enslaved, specialized in woodworking. Some workshops became multi-generational dynasties. Styles mixed and melded into innovative designs and Philadelphia furniture matured with sophistication and quality.

The Powell House, 244 South Third Street, in the Society Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, was constructed in 1765–66 by ship master and merchant Charles Stedman. Declining fortunes forced Stedman to sell the house almost immediately after its completion to Samuel Powel, an heir to a family fortune. Powel and his new wife hired Philadelphia’s finest craftspeople to renovate and furnish their new home with furniture made from mahogany that reflected their wealth and refined taste.

Powel, the last Mayor of Philadelphia under the British Crown and first Mayor of Philadelphia after the creation of the United States, frequently entertained VIPs such as George Washington and John Adams, the first and second presidents of the United States, respectively. Photos: Joe

When the Powel House was gutted in the 1920s, the Philadelphia Museum of Art purchased and preserved the second-floor parlor, where the Powels had hosted a party to celebrate George and Martha Washington’s twentieth wedding anniversary.

Powel House Room, Philadelphia Museum of Art

After the American Revolutionary War of Independence (1775-1783), the furniture-making business continued to thrive in Philadelphia.

O.H. Hunter, lithographer; City Interiors; Philadelphia, 1880s

Leading furniture-maker George Henkels, for example, specialized in pieces inspired by the latest French design. His 180 employees included turners, carvers, varnishers, seamstresses, upholsterers, clerks, bookkeepers, and a sales team. Customers viewed finished pieces at his two four-story warerooms.

In 1867, it was with deep regret that Henkels informed his customers that the renowned Santo Domingan mahogany used to make magnificent pieces of furniture and architectural moldings was no longer available. “The best wood has been cut off,” he explained. “After the depletion of the wood on this island, Cuba mahogany [is] the best to be had.”

Despite the abundance of various types of indigenous lumber, the most desirable wood, mahogany, wasn’t available in North America.

By the time Henkels was searching for new sources for one-hundred-year-old mahogany trees, the forests in the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and other islands in the West Indies had already been leveled to cultivate a crop that was infinitely more lucrative, white gold.


After Christopher Columbus landed in the Caribbean in 1492 and claimed the region for Spain, the British, French, Dutch, and Norwegians soon followed and established their own settlements.

Throughout the 1600s – 1700s, the profit made from the sale of Caribbean products – mahogany, gold, cane sugar, molasses, tobacco, rice, coffee, indigo, hemp, and other cash crops – was so significant that it shifted the balance of power in Europe and influenced each country’s expansion into North America.

Concerted interest in mahogany began in the late 1600s. One frequently told story explains that it was accidental.

Logwood from the Caribbean was shipped to Europe and processed into purple to dark grey dyes. To balance their ships laden with logwood, British mariners used mahogany logs as ballast. When the logwood arrived at port, the mahogany was tossed overboard. Cabinetmakers scavenged the free wood and soon realized that the rejected mahogany was ideal for furniture.

Genuine mahogany (genus Swietenia) only grows in specific tropical and subtropical climate zones. The genus has three species, which vary considerably in density, color, and grain.

Of the three species, Swietenia mahogani is native to the Caribbean, particularly Cuba, Santo Domingo, and Jamaica; small quantities can also grow in the southern tip of Florida. This is the historic mahogany so cherished by early furniture makers such as Thomas Chippendale, Thomas Sheridan, and Duncan Phyfe.

Mahogany has a straight grain and, unlike other woods, completely lacks alternate rings of dense and less dense wood. Therefore, mahogany is very hard and has enormous structural strength when under tension. It doesn’t move and holds its shape, for example, when mortised (a hole is cut into it where another piece, the tenon, will be inserted), glued, shaped, or turned (shaped symmetrically around the axis of rotation to make a table or chair leg).

Mortise and Tenon Joint

Mahogany is unusually resistant to moisture, atmospheric changes, termites, rot, and mold. Finished pieces are less likely to warp, shrink, swell, and twist than furniture made from other woods.

The wear pattern on the side of the drawer made from pine was caused by active use during periods of high humidity when the wood swelled. University of Delaware Art Conservation

Initially, over ninety percent of the mahogany came from Jamaica. By the mid-1700s, in North America and in England, mahogany had displaced walnut and other local woods for architectural elements, high-quality furniture, and luxury coffins.  

By 1774, Jamaican mahogany was almost eradicated. Buyers next sourced the Bahamas and then the Mosquito Coast (eastern coast of present-day Honduras and Nicaragua). Although mahogany from Honduras was relatively cheap and plentiful, it was rarely of the best quality. Woodcutters shipped low-grade mahogany from Honduras to Jamaica so it could be designated as “from Jamaica”. Mahogany grown in Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) became another source.  

As various countries clashed for control over colonies in the Americas, ship captains collaborated with pirates to monopolize access to certain ports. Spanish guard ships regularly seized English and American merchant vessels transporting mahogany and battled with English warships and privateers.

Captain Edward “Blackbeard” Teach put lit fuses into his hair and beard, which gave off smoke and made him look like a demon in battle. He was killed by pirate hunters in 1718.

The numerous and enormous economic and political repercussions of the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763), the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), the French Revolution of 1789, and the collapse of various colonial empires significantly altered trade agreements and access to ports. From 1808 onward, large-scale logging of different species of mahogany began in Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, and Brazil. Mahogany trade peaked in the late 1800s.

In addition to the environmental devastation of deforestation, the human cost of the mahogany trade was catastrophic. How fast and comprehensively products from the natural environment could be collected, transported by sea, and sold for profit depended on the availability of labor.

By the 1600s, the indigenous inhabitants of the West Indies had been virtually wiped out by a combination of European diseases and physical exploitation.

Trade routes that involved the capture, transportation, enslavement, and sale of millions of people from Africa provided a labor force and an economic solution.

Over 350 years and 43,600 voyages, roughly 12.5 million Africans were forced into the holds of European and American slave ships. About fifteen percent did not survive crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. National Endowment for the Humanities


There were no mahogany forests. The tall trees generally grow scattered and the task of finding one requires considerable expertise. An account written in 1811 describes how mahogany was harvested. At the beginning of each cutting season, the “huntsman”, an enslaved man appointed by the overseer, “cuts his way through the thickest of the wood . . . and climbs the highest tree he finds, from which he surveys the surrounding country. . . [An] eye accustomed to this kind of exercise can discover, at a great distance, the places where the wood is most abundant. He now descends and to such places his steps are directed, and without a compass, or other guide than what observation has imprinted on his recollection, he never fails to reach the exact point to which he aims.” A knowledgeable enslaved huntsman sold for a premium price of one-thousand pounds.

In their native habitat, mature two-hundred-year-old mahogany trees grew to 150 feet tall and 10-12 feet in diameter.

Measuring a Mahogany Tree Trunk, Belize 1930s

The overseer, guards, the huntsman, and a crew of ten to fifty enslaved men cut their way into the forest and built a high platform along the mahogany trunk to reach above the wide base.

A team attacked the gigantic tree with long-handled axes; their experience and judgment determined where the tree fell and the quality of the resultant timber. Because the widest part of the trunk often had the richest figured grains, substantial time and labor were invested when cutting the trunk so that it translated into most valuable lumber.

After the axe men felled the tree, another group used machetes to strip off the branches and square the trunk’s edges so it could be transported.

Cutting and Trucking Mahogany, Day and Son Company; Honduras, 1850

Belize, c. 1936

In the meantime, other enslaved men cleared a pathway through the forest and brush and then rolled or skidded the cut log to the nearest river tributary. The process involved weeks of grueling labor.

When the remaining mahogany trees were so far inland that it was no longer possible to haul them by hand, oxen were used.

Due to the intense heat of day, the work of loading and transporting was done by torchlight at night. An account describes, “the great number of oxen – the half-naked drivers, each bearing a torch – the wildness of the forest scenery – the rattling of chains and cracking of whips – and all this at the hour of midnight . . . “

At the river’s edge, each log was scored with the enslaver’s mark to designate it as his private property.

Charles Dashwood; Merchant’s House and Yard for Siding the Mahogany Trees before Putting Them on Board Ship for England, Belize, ca. 1830; Graphite and ink on paper; Yale Center for British Art

The mahogany logs needed to be at the river’s edge by the time the rainy season started. When the rivers swelled, logs were floated en masse to the coast,

and then loaded onto oceangoing vessels.

Once the coastal forests and inland supply of mahogany trees had been exhausted, the enslaved labor was forcibly transferred into the plantation system, where the logged land was planted with tobacco, coffee, cotton, and white gold – sugar cane. The products of their labor were shipped and sold, the profits purchased more humans in Africa for enslavement.

Enslaved Cane Cutters on a Plantation in Jamaica, New York Public Library

When mahogany logs arrived in Philadelphia, a public official known as the wood surveyor, who was usually also a cabinetmaker, set the market standards for quality and evaluated the incoming cargo.

George Heap; The East Prospect of the City of Philadelphia in the Province of Pennsylvania, 1756; Engraving; Philadelphia Museum of Art

There were no furniture stores; everything was custom made.

Three men work with mahogany logs. One guides a log onto a block-and-tackle lift from the sidewalk, while another holds the ropes and waits for the log on the second level. Another laborer moves a log on a ramp through an open doorway on the first floor. In the foreground, an unhitched dray stands near a log in the cobblestone street.

George G. Heiss; Keyser & Foxe’s Mahogany Steam Sawmill & Turning Shop, Number 21 Crown Street between Race & Vine Streets, Philadelphia, Mid-1850s; Lithograph; Library Company of Philadelphia

In the cabinetmakers’ shops, solid pieces cut from the rough trunks were transformed into massive pieces of furniture. Enslaved household workers cleaned, dusted, and continually polished the furniture with linseed oil and brick dust until it shone by candlelight and reflected the shiny brass hardware, silver tea surfaces, and porcelain teacups placed upon it. Sophisticated interiors were seen as fundamental to gentility and manners. Owning mahogany became a means to cultivate one’s outward expression of self.


A very basic furnishing, the table, has been used for thousands of years for numerous functions. One type of table is entangled in the story of mahogany consumption and the history of tea.


According to legend, the Chinese emperor and deity, Shennong, is venerated as the god of agriculture.

One day, around 2,400 years ago, while resting in the shade of a large tree, his cook prepared a fire and boiled a pot of water. The heat of the fire dried the leaves on the tree and some fell into the pot. The water turned golden and emitted a highly pleasant scent. Shennong drank the bitter but richly flavored drink and the art of tea was born.

At first, tea was reserved exclusively for the Chinese Imperial Court. Over the centuries, the act of tea drinking came to represent elegance, harmony, friendliness, grace, and a way to cultivate the mind and improve moral integrity. Tea inspired poems and paintings. Devout Buddhist monks drank it to prevent getting drowsy during long sessions of meditation. With the spread of Buddhism, rituals for preparing and drinking tea trickled into Tibet, Korea, and Japan.

Artist/maker unknown, Chinese, for export; Official Drinking Tea, Mid-1800s; Gouache on pith paper, mounted as an album painting; Philadelphia Museum of Art

In the 1600s, the Dutch were the first to bring tea home from Asia. Its reputation soon spread throughout the rest of Europe. The British developed a passion for it. Russians believed that each samovar (“self-boiler”) had its own soul because of the sounds that it made when heating water for tea.

Once the enslaved work force on vast plantations in Americas and the Caribbean produced sugar on a large scale, spoonfuls made their way into the bitter drink and the love for tea exploded. Serving tea became a social ceremony of graciousness and welcome.

By the 1700s, tea became the drink of choice over coffee and chocolate. Since tea was expensive to buy and required special equipment, such as the handle-less tea bowls and tea table shown in the center of this chair back, tea drinking connoted social prestige and economic affluence.

Artist/maker unknown, English; Embroidered Chair Back, c. 1720; Linen with wool and silk embroidery in tent and cross stitches; Philadelphia Museum of Art

Colonists in North American adopted the craze.

John White Alexander; The Gossip, 1912; Oil on canvas; Philadelphia Museum of Art

Tea and all the items related to its consumption were expensive. Tea services were made in silver –

Joseph Richardson, Jr., American, 1752 – 1831; Teapot, Tea Caddy, Coffeepot, Milk Pot, and Sugar Bowl, 1799; Silver; Philadelphia Museum of Art.

In the time before a national currency, banks, and safe-deposit boxes, silver cups, teapots, and spoons were not just for show – they “stored” your assets. Silversmiths transformed coins and outdated silverware into fashionable pieces, converted objects back into negotiable forms of silver, assayed weights and standards, safeguarded items on deposit, and made loans.

The Richardsons were a family of noted silversmiths with a sterling reputation. When Philadelphia became the nation’s temporary capital, George Washington appointed Joseph Richardson, Jr. assayer of the first mint of the United States.

and in porcelain. The one below was embellished with gold.

Derby porcelain factory, Derby, England; Tea Service, c. 1780-1790; Porcelain with enamel and gilt decoration; Philadelphia Museum of Art. This ornate tea service belonged to Sarah Logan, whose family was involved in the development of the Pennsylvania colony and then the fledgling United States.

Tea leaves were kept under lock and key in elaborate containers. The “lady of the house” secured the key on a chatelaine, an accessory used for suspending household and personal use items, such as keys, on short chains, ribbons, or strings. Dried tea leaves were measured with silver caddy spoons.

Left: Joseph and Nathaniel Richardson, Philadelphia; Tea Caddy, 1781-1785; Silver; Philadelphia Museum of Art and Middle: Joseph Richardson, Sr., Philadelphia; Chatelaine Hook, 1748; Silver; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Right: Joseph Richardson, Jr., Philadelphia; Caddy Spoon, 1790-1800; Silver; Philadelphia Museum of Art

An advertisement placed in the Philadelphia newspaper owned by Benjamin Franklin assured that their tea wares were suitable for “All Lovers of Decency, Neatness and Tea-Table decorum.”

Special stands for teapots housed candles, or tea lights, to keep the drink warm. If the drink cooled down, the tea was dumped in a slop bowl so the teacup could be refilled.

Left: Peter Krider, active Philadelphia); Tea Kettle on Stand, 1870-1888; Silver; Philadelphia Museum of Art and Right: Joseph Richardson, Jr., Philadelphia; Slop Bowl, 1780-1785; Silver; Philadelphia Museum of Art

Mote spoons were used to strain tea; its thin, pointed handle cleared clogged spouts of pots.

Joseph Richardson, Sr., Philadelphia; Mote Spoon, 1750-1770; silver; Philadelphia Museum of Art

The rules of etiquette dictated that tongs transfer lumps of sugar from the sugar bowl to the teacup.

Joseph Richardson, Jr., Philadelphia; Sugar Tongs, 1790-1800; Silver; Philadelphia Museum of Art. In order to make the tongs spring suitably, their ends were heated and hammered many times to give them sufficient tension.

Tea services were placed on silver salvers.

Joseph Richardson, Sr.; Salver, 1760-1764; Silver; Philadelphia Museum of Art

What was the most elegant stage to place these extravagant accoutrements for your guests to admire? The mahogany tea table, of course.

Tea tables were placed in the best position in the parlor and became a gathering area for conversation, gossip, flirtations, and serving afternoon tea and finger foods upon fine porcelain and sparkling silver services.

During the 1680s, European joiners (who constructed the wooden components) began mounting tea trays imported from Asia on frames. This led to the production of rectangular tea tables with tray-like tops.

Joseph Van Aken; An English Family at Tea, c. 1720; Oil on canvas; Tate Gallery, London

Left: Artist/maker unknown; Tea Table, c. 1710-1720; Walnut; Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and Right; Possibly by Benjamin Randolph; Tea Table, 1774; Mahogany, cherry, white cedar; Philadelphia Museum of Art

At left, the table legs are supported by horizontal stretchers. At right, the solid mahogany cabriole legs create a structural balance that supports heavy pieces of furniture on slim legs and eliminates the need for stretchers. (Cabriole legs: upper part curves out, lower part curves in; the style originated in Italy to mimic the rear leg of a leaping goat).

Craftsmen modified construction and introduced the round tilt-top tea table, which colonial Philadelphians came to prefer over rectangular ones, and the city’s highly skilled cabinetmakers and specialty carvers produced lavish examples. Delicate tabletops with raised rims kept expensive porcelain from slipping off the table and breaking. Gracefully curved, carved cabriole legs that ended in ball-and-claw feet offered visual contrast and interest.

Model in period costume sitting at a tea table in a room from the second floor of the Powel House, Philadelphia 1765–66; remodeled 1769–71, Metropolitan Museum of Art

The dimensions of a well-designed round tea table allowed women to display the luxurious fabric and sumptuous details on the lower portion of their dress.

Tilt-top tables with scalloped and molded “piecrust” edges designed for the genteel occasion of tea drinking were also used for casual, daily activities such as writing letters and reading books. The edges of this tea table were hand-carved into ten-sections that have an alternating flat and ogee pattern that is similar to the rimmed-pattern found on salvers (ogee pattern: two continuous half-oval, S-shaped curves that narrow and widen).

Artist/maker unknown, American; Tea Table, 1765-1775; Mahogany, iron, brass; 28 1/4 x 35 inches (71.8 x 88.9 cm); Philadelphia Museum of Art

The pith, or center, of the mahogany tree is not evident on this tabletop, indicating that the single board was cut lengthwise through the center of the log. Mahogany logs averaged more than four feet in diameter during this time; this top would have required a diameter of at least thirty-eight inches (molding and tabletop are one piece). Note that the diameter of the tabletop is wider than that of the base. Such an extraordinary cut of mahogany merited its use as the spectacular top for this tea table.

A spindled “birdcage” mechanism underneath the tabletop allows it to rotate and flip into a vertical position. When not in use, the hinged top was dropped vertically and the table was placed flat against a wall.

Watch how a birdcage mechanism is made: Making a Piecrust Tea Table with Birdcage Mechanism

The three legs on this round tea table taper to slender ankles and then flair into finely formed ball-and-claw feet with shaped knuckles. If those feet could tap dance, they’d spell out “made in Philadelphia” in Morse code.

The ball-in-claw design may have derived from images from Chinese mythology that depict a dragon (i.e. the Emperor) who guards a symbol of wisdom (crystal ball, or pearl, or sometimes a sacred flaming jewel ball) with a clawed foot to protect it from evil forces trying to steal it.

Artist/maker unknown, Chinese; Hairpin with Entwined Dragon and Pearls, 1900-1925; Silver and pearls; Philadelphia Museum of Art

Or, the design may have come from Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE), who wrote that when cranes sleep at night, one stands guard and remains awake by holding a stone in its claw. If the sentry begins to fall asleep, the stone drops and awakens the bird. The crane became a heraldic symbol of watchfulness.

Cranes, early 1200s; British Library

Craftsman in different cities along the United States’ east coast used characteristic motifs in their ball-and-claw feet.

Those carved in New York typically have sharp, squared-knuckled toes evenly spaced around a spherical ball.

Made in New York; Square Ball-in-Claw Feet on a Corner Chair, 1780; Mahogany

Bostonian toes and talon are side-swept.

Made in Boston, Massachusetts; Ball-and-Claw Feet on a Side Chair, 1760-90; Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library Museum

Feet that flew in from Newport, Rhode Island have strong knuckles and an open space between the ball and talon. 

Made in Newport; Ball-and-Claw Feet from a Gaming Table, date unknown; Mahogany

Ball-and-claw feet carved in Philadelphia often have webbed toes and appear to be flattening and squishing a tomato.

Benjamin Randolph, Philadelphia; Tea table (detail), 1765–1775; Mahogany; Private Collection

Tea tabletops and pillars were made by specialist turners and then stocked by joiners who constructed the tables so that the weight of the heavy, solid mahogany top was supported in perfect balance. Imagine the warm grain of mahogany, the twinkling silver services, and the delicate porcelain teacups that glistened by candlelight.

A controversy boiled over in the 1760s when Parliament imposed an unfair tea tax on the American colonies. After the Revolutionary War, serving afternoon tea was considered unpatriotic in the new United States. The price of tea declined and tea tables disappeared from parlors.

Carl Guttenberg; The Tea-Tax-Tempest, or The Anglo-American Revolution, 1778; Engraving; Philadelphia Museum of Art

A satire expressing a Continental European view of the American Revolution, showing Father Time using a magic lantern to project the image of a teapot exploding among frightened British troops as American troops advance through the smoke. In the midst of the smoke is a “Gallic cock” seated on a bellows fanning the flames beneath the teapot. Figures representing world opinion from America, Africa, Asia, and Europe look on.

The two species of mahogany that supplied the world’s markets for centuries are now considered commercially extinct; all three species are listed as endangered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITIES).

Objects made from mahogany trees that grew hundreds of years ago in the West Indies ascend in monetary value and historical significance.

In 2007, a dish-top tea table made in the 1760s by Garvan, a master-carver in Philadelphia, with a 32 ¼ inch solid mahogany tabletop sold at Christies for $6,671,00.00.


After the American Revolution, highlighting the hypocrisy amidst a crusade for freedom, it remained legal in Pennsylvania to enslave other human beings for roughly another seventy-five years.

From 1790 to 1800, Philadelphia was the new nation’s capital. George Washington, his wife, and ten enslaved workers moved from Mount Vernon, his home in Virginia, to Philadelphia to live at America’s first executive mansion. A law in Pennsylvania, the Gradual Abolition Act, the first extensive abolition legislation in the western hemisphere, allowed enslaved people to claim their freedom after they’d lived in the state for six consecutive months. To prevent those whom he enslaved from manumission, Washington sent them back and forth to Virginia every six months to reset their residence.

The President’s House in Philadelphia was demolished in 1832. Today, archeological fragments are on view at its original location near Independence Hall.

President Washington died in 1799. A coffin that befitted the six-feet-three-and-a-half-inches tall Father of the Nation was custom-made: the mahogany casket, lined in lead, with engraved silver plates and furnished with black lace and handles and a covered case with lifters was the most expensive element of the funeral.

When George Washington’s remains were relocated to a new tomb in 1837, his family planned to make souvenirs from the mahogany covering of his lead-lined coffin.

The wood had deteriorated and so instead, they distributed small pieces of mahogany as keepsakes. Authenticated slivers and bits occasionally appear at auctions.

“Washington’s Coffin presented to Mr. Saltonstall by a nephew, + namesake of Washington residing at Mount Vernon.” Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Washington D.C.


And Mr. Goodchild adds that the stones of Lancaster do sometimes whisper, even yet, of rich men passed away – upon whose great prosperity some of these old doorways frowned sullen in the brightest weather – that their slave-gain turned to curses, as the Arabian Wizard’s money turned to leaves, and that no good ever came of it, even unto the third and fourth generations, until it was wasted and gone. – Charles Dickens, The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices, Chapter Three

– Meighan Maley


Beyond the Luster of Mahogany;

Claw-and-Ball Feet; Denver Art Museum

Colonial Silver;

Cranes; The Medieval Bestiary

Dining Table Leg Styles Explained;

Early American Furniture Makers;

Furniture and Furniture Making in Philadelphia;

Furnishing the Craftsman: Slaves and Sailors in the Mahogany Trade;

George Washington’s Funeral;;


Kirtley, Alexandra. American Furniture 1650-1840, Highlights form the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 2020. Yale University Press.

Mahogany – History of American Mahogany Trade;,

Mahogany Endangered Species; CITIES, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Russian Samovars;

Slavery and the Slave Trade in Philadelphia;, Philadelphia


Tea tables;

The History of Tea;,,

The History of Sugar Tongs;


  1. It looks beautiful, Meighan, now that I can see it all together in its finished form. And, of course, I know the text is fascinating–more than I ever expected to know about mahogany and furniture and so many other topics by the way. Pam

    On Fri, Aug 27, 2021 at 7:47 PM The Art of Seeing – Explore Works from Philadelphia’s Museum of Art and Rod


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