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Edward Wormley Furniture

American, 1907-1995

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 vintage seating, storage cabinets, bar carts and other 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 — chairs, sofas, tables and more — 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 vintage 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.

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Creator: Edward Wormley
Dealer: Modest Designs
Edward Wormley for Dunbar, Model 4423 Three-Tier Mahogany End Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Brooklyn, NY
An early, c. 1944, design by Edward Wormley, beloved for its forward thinking minimalist form, and comfortable practicality. The three tiers are supported by an architectural frame ...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Edward Wormley for Dunbar, Swiveling Stool
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Brooklyn, NY
This sweet early Wormley modern design makes a perfect vanity or desk chair. The fully upholstered seat swivels over dark stained mahogany legs joined by dowel stretches, with capped...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Brass Bench #5428
By Edward Wormley
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Architectural rectangular bench in brass square tube with upholstered seat, designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Hand-polished brass, upholstered in a Bergamo brown wool mohair.
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Tambour Door Cabinet by Edward Wormley for Dunbar, Model 959
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Brooklyn, NY
A chic and versatile cabinet with blond tamowood top and burnt almond walnut tambour doors on a dark mahogany case. Nice details like the razor-thin brass door pulls, and dappled var...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Edward Wormley, Early Pair Side Tables model 4774A
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Perfect, architectural 3-tier mahogany side tables by Edward Wormley. This simple, streamlined design typifies Wormley’s restrained modern style of the 1940s. The pair retains thei...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Edward Wormley for Dunbar, Pair Mahogany End Tables
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Brooklyn, NY
An early example of Edward Wormley's sophisticated modernism. Stepped two-tier end tables with subtle Chinoise elements to the carving of the base. These retain the original dark mah...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Edward Wormley for Dunbar 3-Tier Side Table
By Edward Wormley
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Architectural Edward Wormley design in mahogany with curved bentwood drawer pull, gallery trimmed top, reverse leg taper, and leather capped feet. An interesting modern update on an Arts & Crafts form. Works equally well as side or occasional table or nightstand. Dunbar metal...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Pair Edward Wormley for Dunbar Model 5480 Chairs
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Brooklyn, NY
An iconic Edward Wormley design, the ‘A-Frame' chair is a wonderful example of Wormley’s expertise in mixing materials into sophisticated, architectural forms. Employing dark stain...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Leather, Bentwood

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Side Table Model # 5425
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Occasional table by Edward Wormley for Dunbar, model 5425. Rosewood and Walnut folding x-base with removable mahogany tray top. Labeled with Dunbar gold metal tag
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Rosewood, Mahogany

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Janus Collection Chest with Natzler Ceramic Pulls
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Model 5770 Janus Collection chest of drawers featuring brass pulls with inset purple-blue demi-lune Natzler ceramic tiles, and exaggerated dovetail knuckle joints on tops, sides, and...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Early Dunbar Cocktail Table
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Brooklyn, 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

Set of Four Dunbar Side Chairs
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Edward Wormley for Dunbar dining chairs, models 6038 & 6037 in dark mahogany frames with original Jack Lenor Larsen fabric. Two arm and two side chairs, supported by brass spacers, w...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Mahogany Occasional Table by Edward Wormley
By Edward Wormley
Located in Brooklyn, 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

Dunbar Sofa by Edward Wormley
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Brooklyn, 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

Pair of Dunbar Occasional Chairs
By Edward Wormley
Located in Brooklyn, 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 Chrome and Walnut Occasional Table
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Chic and rarely seen Edward Wormley design that can function as a lamp table, end table or small cocktail table. Dunbar label on bottom.
Category

1960s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Chrome

Pair Edward Wormley for Dunbar Side Tables, Model 279
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Rare and sophisticated lamp tables in dark stained mahogany. The simple, architectural configuration is surprisingly contemporary for a 70 year old design. Original finish, with rect...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Related Items
Pair of Edward Wormley End Tables for Dunbar, Side Tables
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Miami, FL
Pair of Edward Wormley End Tables for Dunbar.
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Wood

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Swivel Chair, C. 1950s
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Westport, CT
A swivel lounge chair designed by the iconic Edward Wormely for Dunbar Furniture, circa 1950-1959. Completely restored, fitted with new high-grade hand cut foam with all insides full...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Velvet, Mahogany

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Style "Long John" Bench, Coffee Table, 1950s
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Bainbridge, NY
Long Edward Wormley for dunbar style walnut "long john" Bench. Coffee Table. Bed End. Featuring a longer rectangular slat-style Walnut surface, turned edge...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Large Square Coffee Table
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in St. Louis, MO
Edward Wormley for Dunbar large square coffee table or low side with parson legs. Price includes refinishing, custom color option available. No lab...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Small Mid-Century Cabinet by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Dorchester, MA
Designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar, this trim mid-century cabinet in walnut-stained mahogany features recessed door pulls and a matching leather...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Leather, Mahogany

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Sofa
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Chicago, IL
Edward Wormley for Dunbar Sofa, early design with great scale, spring seating system, reupholstered and rebuilt reupholstered with wool ...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Upholstery

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Sofa
Edward Wormley for Dunbar Sofa
H 31.5 in W 100 in D 37 in
Edward Wormley for Dunbar Constellation Model 479 Mid Century Side Table
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Countryside, IL
Edward Wormley for Dunbar Constellation Model 479 Mid Century Side Table This side table measures: 13 wide x 13 deep x 19 inches high All pieces of furniture can be had in what we ...
Category

1970s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Wood

Walnut Side Table in the Style of Edward Wormley
By Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Walnut table with inlaid geometric design flip-top and plain on verso, table breaks down for easy storage and logistics.
Category

1990s American Mid-Century Modern Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Classic Edward Wormley for Dunbar Bench
By Edward Wormley
Located in St.Petersburg, FL
An Edward Wormley for Dunbar upholstered (half) and open mahogany (the other half) bench. Brass spacers, original fabric, circa 1970s.
Category

1970s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Edward Wormley Long John Bench by Dunbar, 1960
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Edward Wormley Long John Bench by Dunbar, 1960. Bench has been completely restored. Measures 59.75" long, 18.75" deep 12" tall
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Wood

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Captain's "Y" Chair, ca. 1955
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Costa Mesa, CA
Edward Wormley for Dunbar Captain's "Y" chair, ca. 1955. Professionally restored walnut frame with new back caning and new upholstered seat with super soft and luxurious ivory wool f...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Bench, 1960
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Chicago, IL
Edward Wormley for Dunbar Bench, 1960. Restored and reupholstered in gray mohair.
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mohair, Walnut

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Bench, 1960
Edward Wormley for Dunbar Bench, 1960
H 15.25 in W 33 in D 18.5 in
Previously Available Items
Pair Dunbar Three-Tier Mahogany End Tables, c. 1940s
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Chic and supremely practical side tables employing perfect proportions, further elevated with the typical Edward Wormley details and exquisite craftsmanship. The extra height and nar...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Pair Edward Wormley for Dunbar Side Tables, Model 279
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Rare and sophisticated lamp tables in dark stained mahogany. The simple, architectural configuration is surprisingly contemporary for a 70 year old design. Original finish, with rect...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Edward Wormley Pedestal Bar Cabinet in Olive Burl model 6302D
By Edward Wormley
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Pedestal Cabinet/ Dry Bar by Edward Wormley for Dunbar, introduced in 1963, in natural olive burl with hinged door and dark mahogany interior cabinet. Original paper label on bottom.
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany, Olive

Dunbar Two-Tier Walnut Occasional Table with Cane Shelf
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Brooklyn, NY
C. 1950, this interesting and rarely seen design uses subtle details in carving and materials to elevate its functionalist form into something sculptural. A great example of designer...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Cane, Mahogany

Pair of Walnut Side Tables by Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Simple, perfectly proportioned two-tiered walnut side tables, designed by Edward Wormley. Model 4533 from 1945. Both tables retain paper labels and Dunbar brand.
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Pair of Walnut Side Tables by Dunbar
Pair of Walnut Side Tables by Dunbar
H 20.5 in W 20 in D 35 in
Early Dunbar Mahogany Coffee Table
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Brooklyn, 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
H 15 in W 49 in D 22 in
Edward Wormley for Dunbar Occasional Table with Tray
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Brooklyn, NY
From the 1957 Janus line, this elegant side or snack table has a burl Carpathian elm top on dark stained mahogany tripod base. Dunbar gold metal tag to the underside. Tray is 18" ...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Elm

Rare Edward Wormley Rosewood and Brass Floor Lamp for Hansen
By Edward Wormley, Hansen
Located in Brooklyn, 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

Nice Pair of Dunbar Side Tables by Edward Wormley
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Handsome architectural tiered end tables with adjustable center shelf. Figured mahogany top on dark stained mahogany frame. Each with gold "D" metal tag to underside.
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Pair of Dunbar Janus End Tables with Tiffany Tiles
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Rare pair of walnut side tables, model # 5831, with inlaid Tiffany favrile glass tiles, from Edward Wormley's celebrated Arts & Crafts influenced Janus collection of 1957.
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Pair of Edward Wormley Designed Commodes for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Brooklyn, 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 Brooklyn, 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

Edward Wormley furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

Edward Wormley furniture are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of wood and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of Edward Wormley furniture, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. Many of the original furniture by Edward Wormley were created in the mid-century modern style in north america during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Dunbar, Paul McCobb, and Herman Miller. Prices for Edward Wormley furniture can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $225 and can go as high as $119,500, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $6,846.

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