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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: Metro Retro Furniture MCM Furniture
Set of Six 239-4 Edward Wormley Precedent by Drexel Dining Chairs
By Drexel, Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
Edward Wormley designed for Precedent Side Chairs series 239-4 in 1947. Set of 6 dining chairs, solid wood construction, natural finish. D...
Category

1950s North American Neoclassical Revival Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Janus Sofa #6329 by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
Janus sofa #6329 by Edward Wormley for Dunbar Stunning sofa recently restored in champagne velvet with tufting. Mahogany base.  
Category

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

Materials

Mahogany

Wormley Tawi Dining Table for Dunbar. Can be configured into 4 different sizes.
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
Rare beautiful wood 12 feet to 14 feet 1/2 vintage Wormley extension dining/conference table for Dunbar This came from the executive conference room of the former Bank of the Southw...
Category

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

Materials

Wood

One Dunbar Tuxedo Sofa by Edward Wromley
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
Mid-Century Modern Tuxedo sofa designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Down cushions with a textured beige fabric and casters. As shown in the last image, we also have a matching pair...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Fabric

Pair of Lounge Chairs by Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
A pair of Mid-Century Modern lounge chairs by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Down cushions with a textured beige fabric and casters. Reupholstery recommended.
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Fabric

Dunbar Wormley 2 Piece Sectional Sofa
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
Dunbar Wormley 2 piece sectional sofa 1950s Rare sectional sofa designed by Edward Wormley, manufactured by Dunbar. The sofa consists of two parts ...
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

#6027 Edward Wormley for Dunbar Super Structure Display Cabinet
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
Edward Wormley for Dunbar Super Structure display cabinet Stunning cabinet constructed of dark walnut with a brass plated plinth base. Concave fron...
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

84" Vintage Edward Wormley for Dunbar Executive Credenza
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
7' vintage Edward Wormley for Dunbar executive desk and credenza In 1931 Leander Dunbar realized the need to create furniture...
Category

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

Materials

Bronze

Edward Wormley Drexel Precedent Nightstand
By Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
Precedent four drawer nightstand. Beautiful in design and material, the Precedent series was designed by Edward Wormley in 1947. Nightstand features wood construction, four pull-o...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Bronze

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Credenza
By Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
Elegantly crafted credenza made of walnut. Credenza features distinctive half moon drawer and door pulls.
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Midcentury 101in Model 488 Sofa by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
Dunbar Edward Wormley Wormley has pioneered in a broad field of design, he was one of those unique designers who was sensitive to the interplay involved in selling modernism and st...
Category

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

Materials

Fabric, Down

Edward Wormley for Drexel Drop-Leaf Precedent Dining Table
By Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
A Mid-Century Modern dining table designed by Edward Wormley for Drexel's Precedent collection. The drop leaf table measures 50" x 28" when folded and 70" x 50" when fully extended.
Category

1950s Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Ash

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Mahogany Adjustable Headboard
By Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
Wormley has pioneered in a broad field of design, he was one of those unique designers who was sensitive to the interplay involved in selling modernism and still preserving the nostalgic touch of intimacy, warmth and detail. His first Dunbar chairs, produced in 1932, were reproductions of antique designs, but when they became popular Wormley augmented the set with new pieces to form a full line of furniture for almost every room in the house. Rare Edward Wormley for Dunbar Mahogany Adjustable Headboard...
Category

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

Materials

Mahogany

Edward Wormley for Drexel Precedent Rolling Bar Cart
By Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
A beautiful rolling bar cart as part of Edward Wormley's Precedent series. Blonde wood, 3 tiered rolling cart with glass shelf and casters. The top features a frosted glass insert. Precedent by Drexel...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Wood

Four Edward Wormley Precedent by Drexel Dining Chairs 239-4 8 Available
By Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
Edward Wormley designed for Precedent Side Chairs series 239-4 in 1947, neoclassical area. Set of 4 dining chairs, solid wood construction, natural finish. 8 available
Category

1940s American Neoclassical Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Wood

Midcentury #5526 Wormley Dunbar Armless Sofa
By Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
Wormley has pioneered in a broad field of design, he was one of those unique designers who was sensitive to the interplay involved in selling modernism and still preserving the nostalgic touch of intimacy, warmth, and detail. Wormley attended the Art Institute of Chicago in 1926. After attending there he worked for Marshall Field`s Design Studio in 1930, and then a year later he began working for Dunbar. His collaboration with Dunbar made him a household name for decades. His first Dunbar chairs, produced in 1932, were reproductions of antique designs, but when they became popular Wormley augmented the set with new pieces to form a full line of furniture for almost every room in the house. He was given a contract under which he would produce two lines of furniture each year, one traditional and one modern 5526 Knowland vintage 6 ft midcentury Dunbar armless sofa...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Wool

Related Items
Pair of Lounge Chairs in Mahogany and Velvet by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Pair of diminutive lounge chairs by Edward Wormley for Dunbar, (circa 1947, USA). Pair includes brass caster wheels, which can easily be added or removed for better stability, as sho...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Iconic Glam Midcentury Modern Dunbar Sofa by Edward Wormley
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Hopewell, NJ
Iconic sleek and sexy Dunbar midcentury modern sofa by Edward Wormley, just reupholstered in an appropriate to the style nubby off-white fabric. Measures: Seat height 18.5.
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Upholstery

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Sofa with Brass Feet
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Brooklyn, NY
1950s Edward Wormley for Dunbar sofa on brass, tapered legs. The section under the backrest is recessed. Recently restored and reupholstered (last two years). However, there are two ...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Restored Edward Wormley Tuxedo Sofa for Dunbar in yellow beige fabric, USA 1960s
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Berlin, DE
Edward wormley tuxedo sofa for Dunbar, USA 1960s. Three-seat sofa with respectively three seat and back cushions. All freshly reupholstered ...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Upholstery

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Walnut Elliptical Conference or Dining Table, 1960s
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in South Bend, IN
An extremely rare and exceptional Mid-Century Modern custom 14-foot walnut conference or dining table Designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar Furniture USA, 1960s Figured waln...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Chrome

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

Dunbar Tete a Tete Sofa by Edward Wormley, 1960
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Dunbar Tete a Tete Sofa by Edward Wormley, 1960. Newly reupholstered in a beautiful cut velvet. Tete a Tete is also on casters. Measures 91" long, 2...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Velvet

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Sofa
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
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
Set of Six Cane Back Dining Chairs by Edward Wormley
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Sagaponack, NY
An elegant and unusual set of six dining chairs with a cane wrapped barrel back and an upholstered seat atop four slender legs.
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany, Upholstery

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Elliptical Conference / Dining Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Denton, TX
Edward Wormley for dunbar walnut elliptical conference / dining table. Extra long oval table that can be used in a large dining room or conference room.
Category

20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Stainless Steel

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Dining Chairs, Set of 8
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in St.Petersburg, FL
A set of 8 rare dining chairs designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. This set features two arm or "Captain's" chairs along with 6 side chairs. Great form with a gentle curved back an...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Upholstery, Mahogany

Edward Wormley Dunbar Tuxedo Sofa in Great Plains Wool Velvet
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Edward Wormley Dunbar Tuxedo Sofa in Great Plains, Wool Velvet "Dreamer Marigold" Sofa was stripped down to frame with new foam and reupholstered. Dimensions: 94" length 34" deep 29"...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mohair

Previously Available Items
Restored Edward Wormley Leather Bench for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
Vintage midcentury Edward Wormley bench for Dunbar Ebonized mahogany base with brass details. Newly upholstered tufted leather seat cushion, circa 1960s.
Category

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

Materials

Mahogany

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Walnut Dining Table 13FT
By Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
A stunning Edward Wormley walnut dining table with ebonized legs. Leather-wrapped feet. Expands from 8ft to 13ft with the addition of four leaves. Drop down center support legs ar...
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

6ft Vintage Midcentury Wormley Dunbar Party Sofa
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
Wormley has pioneered in a broad field of design, he was one of those unique designers who was sensitive to the interplay involved in selling modernism and still preserving the nosta...
Category

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

Materials

Velvet

1 Wormley Drexel Precedent Dresser
By Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
Edward Wormley (1907-1995) created many classic furniture designs throughout the 40s, 50s, and 60s for Dunbar and later Drexel. After working for Dunbar for 14 years he opened his ow...
Category

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

Materials

Elm

1 Wormley Drexel Precedent Dresser
1 Wormley Drexel Precedent Dresser
H 33 in W 32 in D 19 in
Vintage 8ft Dunbar Wormley Party Sofa
By Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
Vintage 8ft Dunbar Wormley Party Sofa 1950s design Large-scale iconic sofa in a chesterfield style. Reupholstery recommended. 6ft sofa available. See...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Velvet

Vintage Mid-Century Dunbar Wormley Headboard
By Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
Vintage Wormley Dunbar curved headboard. Rare Asian inspired curved headboard. Maple. MFG marks.  Measures: 90in.  
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Maple

Edward Wormley Dunbar Burl Walnut Burl Two-Tier Coffee Table
By Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
Rare Wormley coffee table of bentwood burl with ebonized tapered legs. Two-tier tray style.
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut, Burl

Edward Wormley for Precedent by Drexel Coffee Table
By Drexel, Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
Vintage 2 tier Coffee Table designed by Edward Wormley for Drexel Precedent line 271 1949 Heavy solid with textured glass serving tray on...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Glass, Wood

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Executive Desk and Credenza
By Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
These timeless classics, desk and credenza, are the perfect touch of elegance for any home or office. The desk has six drawers and two writing pull outs. The desk and credenza are...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Executive Desk
By Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
Desk designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. The desk features six drawers and two writing pull outs, and is crafted of walnut. Desk has a 75" x 38" Glass Top. Desk also feature...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Writing Desk in Rosewood and Mahogany
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
A mid century modern writing desk designed by Edward Wormley and made by Dunbar. An ebonized mahogany top and legs with rosewood drawer front and brass and rosewood pulls.
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Edward Wormley For Drexel White Lacquer Dresser
By Edward Wormley
Located in Pasadena, TX
A mid century modern ten drawer dresser designed by Edward Wormley and made by Drexel. Part of the Precedent series, it is newly finished in white lacquer, it is an elegant addition...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Wood

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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