Pennsylvania Dutch (1720-1830)

Pennsylvania Dutch is a simple, utilitarian American country style of furniture with Germanic influences. It is characterized by colorful folk painting on case furniture. 




Simple – Straight lines, simple design, and little ornamentation.(Contemporary style shown)

Chair Arms

Simple turning or flat – Arms are straight with a simple turning or are flat.
Straight – Arms are straight and perpendicular to the chair.

Chair Back Material

Wood – Solid wood, horizontal slats, vertical slats, or vertical splats.

Chair Back Shape

Ladderback or Slatback – Equally spaced horizontal flat slats, either straight or curved.
Solid – One piece or solid panel chair back.

Chair Leg

Cabriole – Curved leg in the shape of an animal’s leg. The cabriole leg increased the stability of seating pieces and reduced the need for underbracing.
Round – Round, usually shaped or turned leg.
Simple turning – turned leg with a few types of turnings.
Square – Flat surfaced leg on all sides.
Straight – Straight leg, vertical to chair seat.
Tapered – Straight leg gradually decreasing in width.

Chair Seat Material

Leather – Animal hide.
Rush – Woven rush.
Upholstered – Cushioned and covered with fabric.
Wood – Various types of wood.

Chair Seat Shape

Square – Square shaped seat.

Drawer Pull

Loop Handle – Bail handle without a back plate, 3.5 to 4.5 inches wide.
Turned Wooden Knob – Elongated, turned wooden knob, often 3 inches long and 1.25 inches in diameter.
Wooden Mushroom-Shaped Knob – Mushroom-shaped wooden knob, often 1 inch high and 1.5 to 2.5 inches in diameter.


Leather – Material made from the tanning of animal hides.


Paint – Opaque, pigmented finish that obscures the grain of the wood.
Wax – Paste finish over a sealer, stain, or bare wood.


Ball – Rounded ball-shaped foot.
Bun – Rounded foot, flatter than a ball foot.
Continuation of leg – Leg does not terminate into a foot.
Pad – Simple, rounded carved foot.

Hardware Material

Iron – Grayish-brown metal with a dull finish.
Wood – Various types of wood, carved or turned.


Dovetail – An interlocking wood joint in which a series of wedge-shaped projections fits into a series of alternating grooves.
Mortise and tenon – Wood joint in which a projecting tenon of one board is fitted into a mortise or hole of another board.


Cyma or S-Curve – S-shaped curve, partly concave and partly convex.
Straight – Straight lines.


Floral – Flowers, such as roses, sunflowers, and tulips.
Sunflower – Daisy-like flower.
Tulip – Cup-shaped flower.


Carving – Cutting or chipping the surface of wood to create a shape or design.
Paneling – Raised, recessed, and framed panels.
Spindle – Turned pieces, split vertically often affixed to the front of case furniture.
Stenciling – Painting through a template to create a shape or design on the underlying wood surface.


Medium – Moderate dimensions.(Queen Anne style shown)


Moderate – Moderately proportioned stretchers.(William and Mary style shown)


Black Walnut – Dark brown American hardwood with a wide range of figures.
Oak – Gray-brown American hardwood.
Pine – Yellow to pink-brown American softwood.
Tulipwood – Pink-yellow hardwood with red striping used in inlays; also known as pinkwood.