Graining Machines Simulate Hardwood Grains
Yes, something was awry with the dresser that I provided the image of in the last post and kudos to those commentators who spotted it. It was made ca. 1910 by the Arcadia Furniture Co. of Arcadia, Michigan using cheaper softwoods and grained with a graining machine. Flat surfaces could be grained with a printing-press-like drum. Any curved elements that could not be mechanically done were done by hand with a roller such as the one below being wielded by the graining machine inventor, A. Harry Sherwood.
Sherwood established the Grand Rapids Panel Co. in 1885 and designed a system by which cheaper softwood such as pine could be stained and then mechanically grained to look like any other wood. In the case of the dresser, it was grained to appear as Quartersawn Oak, a more expensive hardwood that was becoming rarer (and more expensive) at the time.
You can read more about Grand Rapids, “America’s Furniture City”, in the book “Grand Rapids Furniture” by Christian Carron.
If you’ll excuse me, I have a few ca. 1900 Oak pieces to inspect …