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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: Century Design Ltd.
Early 1940s Edward J. Wormley Elegant Armchairs for Dunbar in Dark Expresso x 2
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
Early 1940s Edward J. Wormley Elegant Neoclassical Style occasional arm chairs for Dunbar model No. 116B. As shown in "The Other Face of Modernism" book on Wormley , and in the 1940s...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Edward Wormley for Drexel Precedent Collection Ebonized 32", 38" or 48" Chests
By Edward Wormley, Drexel
Located in St. Louis, MO
Singles of Edward Wormley for Drexel chests from the Precedent Collection with brass tone hardware, circa 1947. Size shown in photos is 32" W , also have 38"w and 48" W available ...
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1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

1940s Edward Wormley for Dunbar Bleached Mahogany Shell Form Console Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
Early signed example of Edward Wormley's work for Dunbar, circa 1941, bleached mahogany hand-carved shell with wave detail around top. Stamped DUNBAR logo to back. Current one shown ...
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1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Janus Side Table by Edward Wormley for Dunbar with Natzler Tiles
By Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
Rare Janus side table with 25 inset tiles by Otto and Gertrud Natzler. Designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Base of walnut with brass edging on legs.
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Classic Modern Mahogany, Brass and Cane Bench or Stool
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
This elegant stool, bench or ottoman was designed by Edward Wormley for the Dunbar Furniture Company in 1950, model number 5006A. This stool, based on the Ancient Roman Curule seat ...
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1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Pair of Rare Edward Wormley Dunbar for Modern Elegant Nightstands or End Tables
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
Rare and very elegant pair of nightstands or end tables designed by Edward Wormley in dark stained mahogany with travertine tops, single drawer has open circular brass pull, from his...
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1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Travertine, Brass

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Mahogany Large Extension Dining Table 2 - 24" leaves
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
Edward Wormley - Dunbar for Modern large Asian influenced Mid-Century extension dining table, shown in original bleached mahogany frame with contrasting book matched walnut veneer to...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany, Walnut

Edward Wormley for Dunbar 1950s Asian Influence Walnut Extension Dining Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
Classic Edward Wormley for Dunbar 1950s Mid-Century Modern with Asian influence walnut top with beveled edge extension dining table with two 15" leaves on ebonzied base and leather s...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany, Walnut

Elegant Edward Wormley for Dunbar Mid-Century Modern Tuxedo Sofa, Project
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
Elegant mid-century Edward Wormley for Dunbar sofa with skirt, on sculpted mahogany legs. You can't beat the quality of a Dunbar sofa, built to last. ...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany, Upholstery

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Dark Mahogany / Brass Triangle Sofa or Corner Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
Edward Wormley for Dunbar, all original wedge / triangle shape corner or sofa table in original dark mahogany on brass sabots. Top shows wear, top can be refinished for additional co...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

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...
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1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Elegant 1940s Edward Wormley, Dunbar for Modern, Curved Sofa on Mahogany Legs
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in St. Louis, MO
Elegant mid 1940s Edward Wormley for Dunbar curved sofa on six thick mahogany legs, with older re-upholstery in a Chinoiserie fabric. Upholstery is ...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Upholstery, Mahogany

1940's Edward Wormley for Dunbar Mahogany Regency Style X Form Bench or Stool
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
Early design for Dunbar, mahogany bench or vanity stool model 1050. Curved or X form base with classical styling, with older upholstered seat. Mahogany frame will be restored prior t...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Leather, Mahogany

Edward Wormley 1950s Mid-Century Designed Dunbar for Modern 3 Seat Sofa
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
Edward Wormley three seat on tapered walnut legs is from his Dunbar for Modern collection, one of his early fully modern furniture collections. This sofa, was reupholstered by the original owners, in the late 90s to fit their new southwest decor...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut, Upholstery

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Stool or Ottoman with Parson Legs & Tufted Seat
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
Mid-Century Modern Edward Wormley for Dunbar Stool or ottoman. This elegant stool has dark mahogany parson legs with an inside radius and original off white tufted upholstery. Origin...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Upholstery, Mahogany

Edward J. Wormley for Dunbar Club Chair
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in St. Louis, MO
Single Edward J. Wormley for Dunbar club chair with older re-upholstery on thick tapered legs. Unrestored, ready for new upholstery, legs show age, should be refinished. Email for up...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Upholstery, Mahogany

Edward Wormley for Drexel Precedent Collection Sideboard
By Edward Wormley, Drexel
Located in St. Louis, MO
Mid-Century Modern Wormley for Drexel, his Precedent collection sideboard-buffet, originally designed in the late 1940s. Center drawers with end cabinet doors and interior shelves. P...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Elm

Elegant Edward Wormley for Dunbar Rectangular Cocktail Table with Carpathian Elm
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in St. Louis, MO
Mid-Century Modern, Rarely seen Edward Wormley rectangular walnut frame coffee table in a dark brown finish with inset Carpathian elm square top and sculpted legs with heavy brass sa...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Edward J. Wormley Lounge Chair and Ottoman circa 1950s for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
Edward J. Wormley lounge chair and ottoman for Dunbar circa 1950s on solid brass castors. The lounge chair has a trapezoid shape, wider in the front (27.5" W) and tapers to the back....
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Upholstery

Edward J. Wormley for Dunbar Cabinet with Asian Hardware
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in St. Louis, MO
Mid-Century Modern Edward J. Wormley for Dunbar cabinet with brass Asian hardware. All original dark had rubbed finish on ribbon mahogany, top will be polished and touched up prior t...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Desk with Drop Leaves and File Cabinet in Dark Finish
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
Uncommon Mid-Century Modern Edward Wormley model no.301-A designed compact desk for Dunbar, with two drop leaf extensions and model no.302-A pedestal file cabinet on wheels. Desk has...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Pair of Edward Wormley for Dunbar Dining Chairs with Brass Handles
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
Listed are a pair of elegant Edward Wormley for Dunbar dining chairs with arms and brass handles. These are in need of restoration, perfect if your looking to add to your set. Also c...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Edward Wormley for Dunbar MCM Expandable Lacquered Hunter Green Coffee Table
By Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
Edward Wormley for Dunbar coffee table with pull-out extensions (expands 12" on each end). Lacquered in hunter green, hand rubbed finish. Extended is 67-7/8.
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany, Lacquer

Set of Eight Edward Wormley for Dunbar Dining Armchairs
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in St. Louis, MO
Edward Wormley for Dunbar Model number 842, set of eight armchairs in mahogany with red velvet seats. All original, minor touch up prior to shipping. These chairs were used around a ...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Upholstery, Mahogany

Edward Wormley Bench for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
Edward Wormley bench, legs with Asian influence, cushion straps onto the frame, green label, price includes refinishing and upholstery c.o.m.
Category

1940s Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Pair of Edward Wormley for Drexel Arm Chairs - Precedent Collection
By Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
Pair of Edward Wormley for Drexel dining arm chairs for his Precedent Collection circa 1950s, can be used as occasional chairs. Silver Elm refinished in a dark espresso with new tan...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Elm

Rare and Elegant Edward Wormley for Dunbar Lounge Armchair
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in St. Louis, MO
Edward Wormley for Dunbar lounge chair. Model number 6309, part of the Today and Tomorrow collection, circa 1963. Beautiful channelled mahogany frame with ultra-suede seat and back c...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Edward J. Wormley for Dunbar Sideboard
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
Edward Wormley for Dunbar for modern 1940s bleached mahogany sideboard, center stepped out, inset oval drawer pulls, center interior with drawers and space to store table pads, end cabinet doors hinged on sides and have curved wood door shelves, on leather plinth base. Original key. To be refinished, custom colors options available. Dunbar quality...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Leather, Mahogany

Edward Wormley for Dunbar 1940s Round or Oval Dining Table
By Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
Elegant Edward Wormley for Dunbar 1940s mahogany 50" round dining table that opens up to 74" oval with 24" leaf. Legs are flush with 3" apron, retains...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

1940s Edward J. Wormley for Dunbar Mid-Century Mahogany Bookshelf End Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
From the 1940s Dunbar Enduring Modern catalog is model # 2193, a single large end table with lower tier bookshelf by Edward J. Wormley. Rounded legs, has divider in center to hold bo...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Desk and Return
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in St. Louis, MO
1960s Edward Wormley desk and ensuite return, label, currently being refinished, desk. Measures: 72 W x 36.5 D x 29 H. Return 60 W x 30.5 D x 29 H.
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Wood

Pair of Edward Wormley for Drexel Precedent Nightstands or Small Chests
By Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
Pair of silver elm nightstands in dark brown finish with brass hardware. Designed by Edward Wormley for the Precedent collection by Drexel, design...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Flip-Top Serving or Bar Cart
By Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
Description: Serving cart, two drawers, base in mahogany with brass castors, top in walnut with flip-top for extra serving surface, gold Dunbar label, model number 215, white laminat...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Dunbar Parsons End Table by Edward Wormley
By Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
Edward Wormley for Dunbar end table.
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Wood

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Rare Janus Cabinet in the Style of Greene & Greene
By Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
Edward Wormley for Dunbar Rare Janus cabinet, model 5811 This Janus collection piece is highly influenced by the Greene & Greene designed Arts and Crafts period furniture...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Early Edward Wormley for Dunbar Chest of Drawers
By Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
Mahogany chest of drawers with brass octagonal ring pulls, designed by Edward Wormley in late 1930s.
Category

1930s American Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Set of Eight Dining Chairs
By Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
Edward Wormley for Dunbar dining chairs, set of eight, two armchairs and six side chairs, sculpted mahogany chairs with upholstered seats, arm chairs 33" H x 22" D x 23.5" W with sea...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Upholstery, Mahogany

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Mid-Century Modern Three Nesting Tables in Sap Walnut
By Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
Beautiful set of three nesting tables designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar with SAP walnut tops, and picked mahogany frames. Model number 4783, which denotes they were designed in 1...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany, Walnut

MCM Edward Wormley for Drexel Precedent Collection Cabinet in Dark Expresso
By Edward Wormley, Drexel
Located in St. Louis, MO
Edward Wormley two-door cabinet in ebonized silver elm with brass hardware, circa 1948. The one shown has recently sold, but have another with slightly different hardware available, ...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

1940s Edward Wormley for Dunbar Set of Four Side Chairs
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
Edward Wormley for Dunbar set of four elegant side chairs with dark mahogany legs. Current set of four, have original leather seats, need to be reup...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Upholstery, Mahogany

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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