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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
Explore timeless pieces that have earned their place in history.
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Creator:Edward Wormley
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Edward Wormley for Dunbar Solid Brass and Marble Coffee Table
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Chicago, IL
Clean lined Dunbar brass and marble coffee table designed by Edward Wormley. Solid brass bar frame with solid brass rod stretchers and brass square plate feet. Beautifully veined rou...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Marble, Brass

Edward Wormley Bleached Mahogany Corner Table for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Bleached and Glazed Walnut Parsons End Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Pair of Edward Wormley "Bucket Seat" Leather and Mahogany Club Chairs
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Chicago, IL
Pair of Edward Wormley for Dunbar camel leather and mahogany armchairs. Original channeled leather seats and backs with mahogany legs and stretchers. Rare design from Wormley and Dun...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Leather, Mahogany

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Walnut, Rosewood and Aluminium Inlaid End Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1960s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Aluminum, Rosewood, Walnut

Edward Wormley Mahogany and Rosewood Raised Edge Credenza
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Chicago, IL
Edward Wormley for Dunbar mahogany cabinet with four large drawers and a center shelved cabinet on plinth base. The pair of cabinet doors and drawers are accessed by carved solid ros...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Pair of Edward Wormley Mahogany and Grey Wool Barrel Back Chairs
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Chicago, IL
Edward Wormley for Dunbar barrel back arm chairs in mahogany and blue/gray wool upholstery. Great understated design that reveals unique qualities, would make great desk chairs as we...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Edward Wormley Lounge Chair in Moss Green Wool Upholstery
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Chicago, IL
Edward Wormley for Dunbar lounge chair with unique setback front legs, and clad in moss green wool upholstery. Extremely comfortable with deep seat cushion and slight angle of the th...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Wood, Wool

Edward Wormley Bleached and Glazed Mahogany Side Chair
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Chicago, IL
Bleched and off-white glazed mahogany side chair #4632, with turquoise vinyl covered seat and caned back by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Excellent side or occasional chair or desk chai...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Cane, Mahogany, Naugahyde

Modular Six-Piece Credenza by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass, Walnut

Pair of Edward Wormley Janus Collection Lounge Chairs by Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Pair of Edward Wormley for Dunbar Janus collection armchairs. Carved walnut arms and legs with exposed frame. Raspberry red linen upholstery with a button tufted back with curved and...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Linen, Walnut

Pair of Edward Wormley Walnut Open-Arm Lounge Chairs
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Two architectural open arm lounge chairs in walnut by Dunbar, with green and blue horizontal stripe upholstery.
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Eight Edward Wormley Mahogany, Leather and Brass Dining Chairs
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Set of eight mahogany wood and apricot leather curved panel back dining chairs by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Set is comprised of two arm chairs and six side chairs. Rarely seen colle...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany, Leather

Edward Wormley Walnut and Olive Ash Burl Tall Cabinet for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut, Brass, Glass

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Walnut X Stretcher Side Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass, Walnut

Uncommon Edward Wormley Five-Leg Walnut Coffee Table for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Edward Wormley Bleached Mahogany Reeded Curule Leg Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
An uncommon and early Edward Wormley design for Dunbar, this reeded Curule leg end table has a three-sided gallery framed top, three part stretcher connecting to the medallions at th...
Category

1940s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Rare Edward Wormley Custom Mahogany and Natural Rosewood Oval Dining Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Outstanding custom-made large oval dining table designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Dark stained mahogany border, incised apron and squared legs. Inlaid bookmatched rosewood venee...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany, Rosewood

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Walnut and Rosewood Parsons Leg Coffee Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Rosewood, Walnut

Edward Wormley Flame Mahogany and Glass Coffee Table for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Glass, Mahogany

Rare Edward Wormley Hexagonal Mahogany and Tawi Dining Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Uncommon hexagonal dining table by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Tawi wood top, bordered with ebonized mahogany. Ebonized mahogany legs and notched apron. Sold with three offset grain T...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Wood, Mahogany

Edward Wormley for Dunbar English Oak and Rosewood Four-Drawer Credenza
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Oak, Rosewood

Related Items
Edward Wormley Flame Mahogany and Glass Coffee Table for Dunbar
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Edward Wormley for Dunbar Walnut and Rosewood Parsons Leg Coffee Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
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Uncommon Edward Wormley Five-Leg Walnut Coffee Table for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
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Edward Wormley Bleached Mahogany Corner Table for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
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Mahogany

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Walnut X Stretcher Side Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
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Brass, Walnut

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Bleached and Glazed Walnut Parsons End Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Walnut, Rosewood and Aluminium Inlaid End Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1960s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Aluminum, Rosewood, Walnut

Modular Six-Piece Credenza by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass, Walnut

Edward Wormley for Dunbar English Oak and Rosewood Four-Drawer Credenza
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Oak, Rosewood

Edward Wormley Walnut and Olive Ash Burl Tall Cabinet for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut, Brass, Glass

Solid Brass Square Bar Coffee Table after Dunbar
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass, Glass

Tom Lopinsky for Dunbar Bronze, Rosewood and Smoked Glass Coffee Table
By Dunbar Furniture
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1960s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Smoked Glass, Rosewood

Previously Available Items
Eight Edward Wormley For Dunbar Mahogany & Cane Dining Chairs
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Chicago, IL
Set of eight dining chairs designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Six side chairs and two arm chairs in light toned mahogany frames with cocoa velvet seats and tight woven cane cente...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Pair Edward Wormley Sculpted Rosewood & Walnut Arm Chairs
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Chicago, IL
Pair of Edward Wormley for Dunbar walnut and rosewood, loose seat cushion, arm chairs. Sculpted walnut frame with scalloped arms, square tapered legs and rosewood curved and flared b...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut, Rosewood

Edward Wormley Mahogany Sideboard Cabinet with Sliding Battened Doors
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Chicago, IL
Mahogany two-door sideboard or credenza cabinet by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Storage provided behind two sliding doors, with rosewood pulls and molded relief fronts that appear as b...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Rare Custom Edward Wormley Roll Top Standing Desk By Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Rare Edward Wormley for Dunbar custom designed standing height walnut roll top desk made exclusively for United Airlines' Red Carpet Room in O'Hare Airport, Chicago, IL circa 1961. ...
Category

1960s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Edward Wormley Walnut & Rosewood Single Drawer Console Table
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Chicago, IL
Edward Wormley for Dunbar console table in walnut with two levels supported by Parsons style legs subtly accented by inset reveals. Single center drawer, carved rosewood drop pull su...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Edward Wormley 48" Diameter Five-Leg Mahogany & Travertine Coffee Table
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Chicago, IL
Rare Edward Wormley for Dunbar five-leg mahogany and travertine coffee table. Exquisite, yet simple, design features chunky solid mahogany legs and corner corbels. Large at four feet...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Rolled Back Club Chair
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Chicago, IL
Edward Wormley for Dunbar club chair with rolled back, ash wood Parsons style legs with solid brass sabots and castors. Older saffron silk upholstery with embroidered harlequin patte...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Edward Wormley Glazed Elm Dresser for Drexel
By Edward Wormley, Drexel
Located in Chicago, IL
From Drexel's Precedent collection, Edward Wormley ten-drawer caramel glazed silver elm dresser with aged brass over zinc pulls. Recessed plinth base on all four sides.
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass, Zinc

Edward Wormley 1930s Camelback Sofa For Dunbar
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Chicago, IL
An early Wormley design, executed by Dunbar. This sofa has the clean lines we have come to expect from Wormley's modern interpretation of classic designs. Camel back, new silk/linen ...
Category

1930s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Upholstery, Wood, Linen

Edward Wormley Hexagonal Mahogany & Tawi Dining Table
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Chicago, IL
Uncommon hexagonal dining table by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Tawi wood top, bordered with ebonized mahogany. Ebonized mahogany legs and notched apron. Sold with three offset grain T...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Edward Wormley Walnut, Micarta and Cane Flip-Top Bar Cart for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
A rarely offered dual-sided bar cart or server by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. The frame and cane front cabinet are comprised of walnut wood and the service areas are a combination of ...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Dunbar Walnut and Cane Credenza by Edward Wormley
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Edward Wormley for Dunbar walnut and cane sideboard on recessed plinth base. Gullwing style side doors open to reveal three storage compartments for each door. Centre figured walnut ...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

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