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American of Martinsville Furniture

American of Martinsville (UNITED STATES)

American of Martinsville is today revered as one of the finest manufacturers of mid-century modern furniture in the United States, but its beginnings were unexpectedly humble.


Well ahead of the Civil War, tobacco was a cash crop in places such as Virginia, and the plant was grown with frequency on farms in Martinsville and elsewhere. In the early 1900s, the business around tobacco was changing and the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company was expanding nationally, buying any Virginia factories in reach. Former tobacco producers Ancil Witten and Charles Keesee turned away from the business in 1906 and, with merely $30,000 in capital (and the support of local business leaders), began to manufacture bedroom furniture under the name American Furniture Company.


In the 1920s, American Furniture Company expanded its offerings from bedroom furnishings. Alongside tallboy dressers and nightstands, Witten and Keesee’s outfit began to offer a range of dining-room sets to the discerning customer. By the 1950s, the name had been changed to American of Martinsville and the brand had gained a reputation for exquisite craftsmanship as well as its variety of furniture styles (Hollywood Regency, chinoiserie). Mass-marketed furniture meant big business in the postwar years and throughout the 20th century in Virginia, and factories owned by companies like Bassett Furniture and American of Martinsville remained busy as suburbanites bought furniture to fill the homes they were moving into.


It isn’t difficult to spot American of Martinsville’s sturdy, solid designs — the lacquered walnut nightstands, mahogany coffee tables and more have long earned the admiration of mid-century modernism enthusiasts. The company’s high profile also owes to prominent attributes that distinguish its well-made vintage furniture, such as the use of wooden slats — inspired by Scandinavian modernism — on hutches and cabinet doors, the famous brass x’s inlaid on the tops of tables and dressers and the stately stacked type of the American of Martinsville logo, which usually appears in drawer interiors. The logo prominently features an eagle perched atop the lettering, its broad wings spread across the “American” portion.


Besides quality manufacturing, American of Martinsville is additionally recognized for having incorporated the trends of the day. Inspired by designers like George Nakashima and Paul Laszlo, the brand was also known for innovations with wood. Merton Gershun was one of the company’s most prolific designers, and he was responsible for some of its most successful modern furniture lines using the richer, darker woods that would become emblematic of mid-century furniture. Gershun’s most popular line was reportedly Dania, with its sleek walnut credenzas fitted with stylish brass accents and large drawers. Today, American of Martinsville specializes in furniture for the healthcare and hospitality industries.


Shop a wide selection of mid-century modern sideboards, dressers and more from American of Martinsville at 1stDibs.

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Creator:American of Martinsville
Dealer:ReMod Gallery
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Handsome Pair of American of Martinsville Walnut Brass Louvered Bachelors Chests
By Merton Gershun, American of Martinsville
Located in Pemberton, NJ
Handsome pair of American of Martinsville louvered walnut bachelor’s chests. We love the stylish louvered drawer fronts and handsome brass banding along the base. Cabinets are in nic...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage American of Martinsville Furniture

Materials

Brass

Handsome American of Martinsville Tall Walnut Rosewood Dresser Chest of Drawers
By American of Martinsville
Located in Pemberton, NJ
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage American of Martinsville Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Pair of American of Martinsville Lacquered Nightstands, Mid-Century Modern
By American of Martinsville
Located in Pemberton, NJ
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage American of Martinsville Furniture

Materials

Wood

Pair of American of Martinsville Lacquered Bachelors Chests, Mid-Century
By American of Martinsville
Located in Pemberton, NJ
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage American of Martinsville Furniture

Materials

Ceramic, Formica, Wood

Handsome American of Martinsville Walnut Rosewood Credenza Mid-Century Modern
By American of Martinsville
Located in Pemberton, NJ
Category

1970s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage American of Martinsville Furniture

Materials

Rosewood, Walnut

Stylish Pair of American of Martinsville Walnut Nightstands Mid-Century Modern
By American of Martinsville
Located in Pemberton, NJ
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage American of Martinsville Furniture

Materials

Brass, Formica, Walnut

Delightful American of Martinsville Burled Light Wood Bar Cart Mid-Century
By American of Martinsville
Located in Pemberton, NJ
Delightful burled light wood bar cart made by American of Martinsville. This stylish piece is on roller and scoots around quite nicely. We love this bar cart because not only is ...
Category

1970s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage American of Martinsville Furniture

Materials

Brass

Mid-Century Danish Modern Walnut Diamond Front Credenza, Long Dresser
By American of Martinsville
Located in Pemberton, NJ
Fantastic Mid-Century dresser with gorgeous front diamond detailing, sculptural legs, finished in a rich medium walnut. The fabulously carved walnut doors open to reveal two drawers ...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage American of Martinsville Furniture

Materials

Brass

Handsome Pair of American of Martinsville, Mid-Century Modern End Tables
By American of Martinsville
Located in Pemberton, NJ
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage American of Martinsville Furniture

Materials

Metal

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Pair of American of Martinsville Lacquered Bachelors Chests, Mid-Century
By American of Martinsville
Located in Pemberton, NJ
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1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage American of Martinsville Furniture

Materials

Ceramic, Formica, Wood

Handsome American of Martinsville Tall Walnut Rosewood Dresser Chest of Drawers
By American of Martinsville
Located in Pemberton, NJ
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage American of Martinsville Furniture

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Walnut

Handsome American of Martinsville Walnut Rosewood Credenza Mid-Century Modern
By American of Martinsville
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1970s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage American of Martinsville Furniture

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Rosewood, Walnut

Handsome Pair of American of Martinsville, Mid-Century Modern End Tables
By American of Martinsville
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1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage American of Martinsville Furniture

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Metal

American Martinsville High Boy Walnut Dresser Chest Mid-century Modern
By Merton Gershun
Located in Pemberton, NJ
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1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage American of Martinsville Furniture

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Brass, Walnut

Amazing Pair of Milo Baughman Rosewood Brass Bachelors Chest Mid-Century Mod
By Milo Baughman
Located in Pemberton, NJ
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1970s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage American of Martinsville Furniture

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Brass, Rosewood

Stylish Pair of American of Martinsville Walnut Nightstands Mid-Century Modern
By American of Martinsville
Located in Pemberton, NJ
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage American of Martinsville Furniture

Materials

Brass, Formica, Walnut

Stunning Pair of Neoclassical Distressed Bachelors Chests Hollywood Regency
By John Widdicomb
Located in Pemberton, NJ
Category

1960s American Hollywood Regency Vintage American of Martinsville Furniture

Materials

Brass, Wood

Fantastic Paul Evans Style Brutalist Walnut Bachelors Chest Mid-Century Modern
By Paul Evans
Located in Pemberton, NJ
Category

1970s Canadian Mid-Century Modern Vintage American of Martinsville Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Magnificent Pair of Dorothy Draper Style Bowed Front Bachelors Chests Regency
By Dorothy Draper
Located in Pemberton, NJ
Category

1950s American Hollywood Regency Vintage American of Martinsville Furniture

Materials

Brass, Walnut

Magnificent Rosewood Jack Cartwright Founders Bachelors Chest of Drawers
By Jack Cartwright, Founders Furniture Company
Located in Pemberton, NJ
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage American of Martinsville Furniture

Materials

Rosewood

Pair of American of Martinsville Lacquered Nightstands, Mid-Century Modern
By American of Martinsville
Located in Pemberton, NJ
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage American of Martinsville Furniture

Materials

Wood

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