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Edward Wormley Furniture

Edward Wormley (USA, 1907–95)
Edward Wormley (USA, 1907–95)

As the longtime director of design for the Dunbar furniture company, Edward Wormley was, along with such peers as George Nelson at Herman Miller Inc., and Florence Knoll of Knoll Inc., one of the leading forces in bringing modern design into American homes in the mid-20th century. Not an axiomatic modernist, Wormley deeply appreciated traditional design, and consequently his work has an understated warmth and a timeless quality that sets it apart from other furnishings of the era.

Wormley was born in rural Illinois and as a teenager took correspondence courses from the New York School of Interior Design. He later attended the Art Institute of Chicago but ran out of money for tuition before he could graduate. Marshall Field hired Wormley in 1930 to design a line of reproduction 18th-century English furniture; the following year he was hired by the Indiana-based Dunbar, where he quickly distinguished himself. It was a good match. Dunbar was an unusual firm: it did not use automated production systems; its pieces were mostly hand-constructed. For his part, Wormley did not use metal as a major component of furniture; he liked craft elements such as caned seatbacks, tambour drawers, or the woven-wood cabinet fronts seen on his Model 5666 sideboard of 1956. He designed two lines for Dunbar each year — one traditional, one modern — until 1944, by which time the contemporary pieces had become the clear best sellers.

Many of Wormley’s signature pieces are modern interpretations of traditional forms. His 1946 Riemerschmid Chair — an example is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art — recapitulates a late 19th-century German design. The long, slender finials of his Model 5580 dining chairs are based on those of Louis XVI chairs; his Listen-to-Me Chaise (1948) has a gentle Rococo curve; the “Precedent” line that Wormley designed for Drexel Furniture in 1947 is a simplified, pared-down take on muscular Georgian furniture. But he could invent new forms, as his Magazine table of 1953, with its bent wood pockets, and his tiered Magazine Tree (1947), both show. And Wormley kept his eye on design currents, creating a series of tables with tops that incorporate tiles and roundels by the great modern ceramicists Otto and Gertrud Natzler. As the items on 1stDibs demonstrate, Edward Wormley conceived of a subdued sort of modernism, designing furniture that fits into any decorating scheme and does not shout for attention.

Iconic Designs from Edward Wormley
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Pair of Dunbar Occasional Chairs
By Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
Incredible Edward Wormley design from the celebrated Janus Collection. This modern take on the Arts and Crafts movement employs an unprecedented level of hand finishing, complicated ...
Category

1960s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Rosewood, Walnut

Dunbar Two-Tier Walnut Occasional Table with Cane Shelf
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Cane, Mahogany

Pair of Dunbar 'Janus' Lounge Chairs
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Pair of Dunbar Janus End Tables with Tiffany Tiles
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Pair of Walnut Side Tables by Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Early Dunbar Cocktail Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
An early example of Edward Wormley's transition to modern furniture design. Mahogany frame with inset leather top. Dunbar brand to underside.
Category

1940s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Leather

Rare Edward Wormley Rosewood and Brass Floor Lamp for Hansen
By Edward Wormley, Hansen
Located in Hudson, NY
Beautiful, subtle floor lamp, with three-sided, tapering shaft and brass base and fixtures. Three-way cluster socket. Fantastic design. Stamped "Hansen, New York" to underside of base.
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Rosewood

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Occasional Table with Tray
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Elm

Set of Four Dunbar Side Chairs
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Mahogany Occasional Table by Edward Wormley
By Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
Wonderful ribbon mahogany top has jewel-like iridescence. Solid-brass casters. Small brass knobs to tie down an upholstered cushion, for use as an ottoman/stool. Early Dunbar brass l...
Category

1940s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Early Dunbar Mahogany Coffee Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
Simple early modern design by Edward Wormley for Dunbar distinguishes itself my its great proportions, chunky geometric shape, and wonderful dappled mahogany veneer. Original finish ...
Category

1940s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Dunbar Sofa by Edward Wormley
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
Chic gold velvet upholstered sofa with down back and side cushions and sprung seat. Beautifully carved mahogany feet. This is an extremely well built and comfortable sofa, with typic...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Dunbar Chrome and Walnut Occasional Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
Category

1960s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

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Pair of Dunbar 'Janus' Lounge Chairs
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
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1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

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Dunbar Chrome and Walnut Occasional Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
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1960s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Occasional Table with Tray
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
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1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

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Elm

Set of Four Dunbar Side Chairs
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
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Mahogany

Pair of Edward Wormley for Dunbar Lounge Chairs/Ottoman Cube
By Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany, Rosewood

Dunbar Lounge Chair
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Dunbar Two-Tier Walnut Occasional Table with Cane Shelf
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
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1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Cane, Mahogany

Pair of Walnut Side Tables by Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

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Walnut

Pair of Paul McCobb Easy Chairs
By Paul McCobb
Located in Hudson, NY
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Pair of Edmond Spence Mahogany Mayan Chairs
By Edmond J. Spence
Located in Hudson, NY
Category

1950s Mexican Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Pair of California Studio Leather Sling Chairs
Located in Hudson, NY
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Leather

Pair of Dunbar Janus End Tables with Tiffany Tiles
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Previously Available Items
Pair of Edward Wormley Designed Commodes for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
Handsome masculine chests of drawers in walnut with dark mahogany trim. Each chest retains its Dunbar gold metal tag.
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Pair of Dunbar Three-Tier Walnut End Tables
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
Early Edward Wormley modern design is one of his most elegant and versatile. Simple architectural lines are visually interesting and effortlessly blend into any interior.
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Pair of Dunbar Slipper Chairs by Edward Wormley
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Hudson, NY
Classic pair of Mahogany and upholstery slipper chairs with stretcher base. Reupholstered in Bergamo silk and wool striped cream fabric. Dunbar gold label on each chair
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Pair of Side Tables By Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
Elegant Edward Wormley design. Described in the Dunbar catalog as snack tables, these are rarely found in a pair. Bentwood legs, with walnut-rimmed black laminate table tops. Dunba...
Category

1960s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Dunbar Rosewood Brass and Marble Occasional Table
By Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
Model #5425 in rosewood, with brass tray top and inset marble. Great original condition.
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Pair of Walnut Side Tables by Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
Simple, perfectly proportioned two-tiered walnut side tables, designed by Edward Wormley in the late 1940s. Both tables retain Dunbar metal tags and paper labels.
Category

1940s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut

  • Pair of Walnut Side Tables by Dunbar
  • Pair of Walnut Side Tables by Dunbar
  • Pair of Walnut Side Tables by Dunbar
  • Pair of Walnut Side Tables by Dunbar
H 22 in. W 28 in. D 19 in.
Dunbar Expanding Walnut Dining Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
Handsome and functional design in oiled Walnut. Surfboard-shaped drop-leaf top is a mere 2' deep with leaves down, and opens to a generous 10' with the four leaves inserted.
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

  • Dunbar Expanding Walnut Dining Table
  • Dunbar Expanding Walnut Dining Table
  • Dunbar Expanding Walnut Dining Table
  • Dunbar Expanding Walnut Dining Table
H 29.25 in. W 120 in. D 39.5 in.
Pair of Custom Order Side Tables by Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
Classic and elegant 1940s-era mahogany tow-tier side tables special ordered in an extra-tall 28" height. The extra height adds versatility allowing them to function as small console...
Category

1940s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Early Dunbar Mahogany Coffee Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
Simple early modern design by Edward Wormley for Dunbar distinguishes itself my it’s great proportions, chunky geometric shape, and wonderful dappled mahogany veneer. Original finish...
Category

1940s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

  • Early Dunbar Mahogany Coffee Table
  • Early Dunbar Mahogany Coffee Table
  • Early Dunbar Mahogany Coffee Table
  • Early Dunbar Mahogany Coffee Table
H 15 in. W 49 in. D 22 in.
Pair of Dunbar Mahogany and Brass Two-Tier End Tables
By Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
Handsome and functional pair of "traditional modern" tables with original dark mahogany finish. Designed by Edward Wormley. Dunbar metal tags to underside.
Category

1960s Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Occasional Table by Edward Wormley
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
Lovely oval tri-column pedestal table in natural and stained English oak with bronze raised feet. Signed with Dunbar gold tag and paper label.
Category

1960s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

  • Occasional Table by Edward Wormley
  • Occasional Table by Edward Wormley
  • Occasional Table by Edward Wormley
  • Occasional Table by Edward Wormley
H 20 in. W 24 in. D 20 in.
Edward Wormley for Dunbar Sideboard
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Hudson, NY
Wonderful early example of Wormley's traditional modern style developed for Dunbar furniture. Equal mix of Arts and Crafts and Chinese revival, this buffet showcases the impeccable ...
Category

1940s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

  • Edward Wormley for Dunbar Sideboard
  • Edward Wormley for Dunbar Sideboard
  • Edward Wormley for Dunbar Sideboard
  • Edward Wormley for Dunbar Sideboard
H 38 in. W 69 in. D 18 in.

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