When it comes to vintage and antique furniture, Ficks Reed is a name that resonates with collectors and enthusiasts alike. Known for their distinctive designs and high-quality craftsmanship, Ficks Reed furniture pieces have become sought-after treasures. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the history of Ficks Reed, the unique characteristics of their furniture, and how to identify genuine Ficks Reed pieces.
History of Ficks Reed Furniture
The Beginning of Ficks Reed
Ficks Reed has a rich history dating back to the mid-19th century. The company was founded by Louis Ficks in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1885. Initially, they specialized in manufacturing rattan and wicker furniture, catering to the growing demand for outdoor and indoor furnishings.
Transition to Reed and Development of Signature Styles
In the early 20th century, Ficks Reed transitioned from using rattan to working predominantly with reed. This change in materials allowed them to create innovative designs that set them apart from other furniture manufacturers. Their transition also coincided with the increasing popularity of tropical and coastal styles in American homes.
Collaboration with Designers
Ficks Reed collaborated with renowned designers, which significantly contributed to the success and recognition of their brand. One of the most notable collaborations was with designer John Wisner, who created iconic Ficks Reed pieces that remain highly collectible today.
Identifying Genuine Ficks Reed Furniture
Construction and Materials
Ficks Reed furniture is known for its sturdy construction and high-quality materials. When trying to identify genuine pieces, pay attention to the following:
Reed and Wicker
- Ficks Reed primarily used reed in their later designs. Genuine pieces will have a consistent and well-crafted reed weave, which is often wrapped around a rattan or bamboo frame. The reed should be smooth and tightly woven, with no loose ends or irregularities.
Labels and Marks
- Look for labels or marks that indicate the furniture’s authenticity. Ficks Reed often used paper labels with their logo, which may have become faded or detached over time. Additionally, some pieces may have metal tags or stamps with the Ficks Reed name.
Style and Design
Ficks Reed furniture is known for its distinctive style, which evolved over the years. To identify genuine pieces, consider the following design elements:
Tropical and Coastal Themes
- Many Ficks Reed pieces feature tropical and coastal motifs, such as bamboo-like reed designs, palm fronds, and exotic patterns. These themes reflect the company’s focus on creating furniture that suited the mid-century American fascination with tropical destinations.
Mid-Century Modern Influence
- Ficks Reed embraced the mid-century modern design movement, incorporating elements like clean lines and geometric shapes into their creations. If a piece exhibits these characteristics, it is likely from the mid-20th century era of Ficks Reed production.
Quality of Craftsmanship
Joinery and Details
- Examine the joinery and details carefully. Ficks Reed was known for its attention to detail, and genuine pieces will exhibit precise craftsmanship. Look for tight joints, well-finished edges, and consistent staining or painting.
- If the piece has upholstery, inspect it closely. Ficks Reed often used high-quality, durable fabrics and cushions. Original upholstery may have the manufacturer’s tag or label hidden beneath the fabric.
Patina and Age
H3: Natural Aging
- Authentic Ficks Reed furniture will show signs of natural aging, such as slight fading, wear on the reed or wicker, and minor imperfections. These signs indicate that the piece has been used and aged over time.
Provenance and Documentation
- If possible, seek out any documentation or provenance that accompanies the furniture. Original purchase receipts, catalogs, or photographs can help verify the authenticity of a piece.
- When in doubt, consider seeking the expertise of an antique furniture appraiser or a specialist in mid-century modern furniture. They can provide valuable insights and authentication services.
How to Identify Genuine Ficks Reed Furniture
Research and Documentation
Before making any purchase or claiming to own a Ficks Reed piece, it’s essential to do your research. Start by exploring reputable sources of information on How to Identify Ficks Reed Furniture, such as books, online forums, and collector websites. Catalogs and advertisements from the mid-20th century can provide valuable insights into the company’s designs and production history.
Examination and Inspection
When you come across a piece of furniture that you suspect is Ficks Reed, take a closer look. Inspect the materials and construction. Genuine Ficks Reed furniture should exhibit the high-quality craftsmanship associated with the brand. Check for the presence of wicker, rattan, or other natural materials and look for signs of wear consistent with the age of the piece.
Seek Expert Advice
If you’re unsure about the authenticity of a Ficks Reed piece, don’t hesitate to seek expert advice. Furniture appraisers and collectors with experience in mid-century modern design can provide valuable insights. They can help you identify key design elements, confirm the presence of original labels or markings, and assess the overall condition and value of the furniture.
Ficks Reed furniture holds a special place in the world of vintage and antique furnishings. Identifying genuine pieces involves a careful examination of construction, design, quality of craftsmanship, and signs of aging. By following the guidelines outlined in this comprehensive guide, you’ll be better equipped to recognize and appreciate the timeless beauty of Ficks Reed furniture in your collection.