Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Edward Wormley (USA, 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 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 these pages demonstrate, Edward Wormley conceived of a subdued sort of modernism, designing furniture that fits into any decorating scheme and does not shout for attention.

Vintage Chest by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
Vintage Chest by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Vintage 1960s American Commodes and Chests of Drawers
A very handsome vintage 1960s four-drawer chest designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Graduated height drawers have the original brass hardware, and the top drawer is divided. Case ...
Edward Wormley for Dunbar Five-Drawer Commode, Mahogany and Brass Mid Century
Edward Wormley for Dunbar Five-Drawer Commode, ...
Edward Wormley
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Brass, Mahogany
Please find a commode finished in stained mahogany and raised on tapered brass legs by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. American, circa 1950. Edward Wormley worked in that extraordinary p...
Edward J. Wormley for Dunbar Cabinet with Asian Hardware
Edward J. Wormley for Dunbar Cabinet with Asian...
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Brass, Mahogany
Mid-Century Modern Edward J. Wormley for Dunbar cabinet with brass Asian hardware. All original dark had rubbed finish on mahogany, top will be polished and touched up prior to shipp...
Signed Mid-Century Modern Edward Wormley for Dunbar Chest of Drawers
Signed Mid-Century Modern Edward Wormley for Du...
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Dressers
Brass, Wood
Edward Wormley was an American modernist furniture designer who was known for his high-quality and elegant pieces. He had an exceptional talent for blending the best characteristics ...
Edward Wormley "Superstructure" Room Divider Display Case
Edward Wormley "Superstructure" Room Divider Di...
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Wormley for Dunbar display case, model #5223 repeated adjustable horizontal glass shelves weightless in appearance lends great framing with vertical space dividers. Measure: Inside o...
Early Pair of Louver Front Dressers by Edward Wormley
Early Pair of Louver Front Dressers by Edward W...
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Cabinets
Mahogany
Pair of mahogany louver front dressers, designed by Edward Wormley, circa 1952. Produced by Dunbar. Professionally refinished. Each chest has a small gallery edge on three sides, and...
Edward Wormley for Drexel Precedent Collection Ten-Drawer Double Chest
Edward Wormley for Drexel Precedent Collection ...
Edward Wormley, Drexel Precedent
Vintage 1940s American Mid-Century Modern Dressers
Designed by Edward Wormley for the Precedent collection by Drexel in the 1940s, designed while he worked for Dunbar. Silver Elm to be refinshed, in dark espresso, unless custom color...
Pair of Edward Wormley Tall Chests from His Precedent Collection for Drexel
Pair of Edward Wormley Tall Chests from His Pre...
Edward Wormley
Vintage 1940s American Mid-Century Modern Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Brass, Mahogany
Pair of tall silver elm chests with nickel hardware, Designed by Edward Wormley for his Precedent collection for Drexel, circa 1948. Price for pair. Nightstands available as well. Sh...
Early Edward Wormley Commode/Chest
Early Edward Wormley Commode/Chest
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
20th Century American Modern Cabinets
Brass, Wood
Cabinet/chest is model 6335 and has two drawers and a locking mechanism in the back by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Markings: Dunbar plaque.  
Single Edward Wormley for Drexel 48" Chest
Edward Wormley, Drexel
Vintage 1940s American Mid-Century Modern Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Brass
Edward Wormley for Drexel chests from the Precedent Collection with brass hardware, circa 1947. Size shown in photos are 32" W (sold), now only 48" W available Please email with que...
Pair of Edward Wormley Designed Commodes for Du...
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Handsome masculine chests of drawers in walnut with dark mahogany trim. Each chest retains its Dunbar gold metal tag.
Edward Wormley Seven-Drawer Dresser
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Dressers
Mahogany, Rosewood
Wormley for Dunbar high-chest, No. 5273A mahogany veneer with curved vertical pulls running the length of each side, raised back reveal edge. Solid turned 7" rosewood legs. Gold pl...
Dunbar Tambour Door Chest by Edward Wormley
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Cabinets
Mahogany
Tambour door chest by Edward Worley for Dunbar. Mahogany finish. Drawers and shelves for storage.
Dunbar Rosewood High Chest with Brass Ring Drop...
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Brass, Mahogany, Rosewood
Mid-Century Modern five drawer Dunbar chest by Ed Wormley. Rosewood mahogany two-tone combination. Brass ring drop pulls.  
Pair of Dunbar Walnut Front Chests, Edward Wormley
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Brass, Walnut
Pair of three-drawer chests by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Model 6422. Fully restored and refinished. Dark walnut cases surround natural walnut drawer fronts with brass ring pulls.
Pair of Chests by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Vintage 1950s American Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Leather, Wood
Pair of mahogany chests with carved wood inset finger pulls by Edward Wormley for Dunbar.
Edward Wormley: Classic Pair of Dressers in Bla...
Edward Wormley, Drexel
Vintage 1940s American Mid-Century Modern Dressers
Brass, Wood
Edward Wormley (1907–1995) Pair of rectangular seven-drawer dressers with recessed base by Edward Wormley for Drexel, in black-lacquered wood with brass pulls. Stamped “Drexel” in to...
Eight-Drawer Chest by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Mahogany, Rosewood
Ebonized eight-drawer chest with rosewood legs by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. This piece has been professionally restored.  
Pair of Black Edward Wormley for Drexel Bachelo...
Edward Wormley, Drexel
Vintage 1940s Modern Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Pair of black Edward Wormley for Drexel Bachelor's chests with ebonized handles.
Chest of Drawers by Edward Wormley
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Aluminum, Walnut
An elegantly austere and finely crafted chest of drawers in bleached walnut having a two-over-three configuration channelled recessed pulls and dowel-form legs crafted of anodized al...
Tall Chest of Drawers by Edward Wormley
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Walnut, Leather
A tall rectilinear chest of drawers in richly figured bleached walnut and having a four-over-seven-drawer configuration, a leather-wrapped plinth base and distinctive recessed pulls.
Tall Dresser by Edward Wormley
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Walnut
A tall chest of drawers in walnut having a four-over-seven drawer configuration, the case resting on a plinth base.
Pair of Chests by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
Edward Wormley
Vintage 1950s Commodes and Chests of Drawers
A pair of matching walnut and bleached mahogany chests with brass hardware. Designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar.
Rare Edward Wormley for Dunbar Custom Contract ...
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Vintage 1940s American Mid-Century Modern Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Pair of Edward Wormley for Dunbar cabinets. Custom ordered five drawer chest with two-door cabinet on leather wrapped plinth base. Shown in slightly worn but very nice original bleac...
Chest of Drawers on Hairpin Legs by Edward Worm...
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Birch, Walnut
Chest of drawers on hairpin legs by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Scarce Wormley Design. Measures: 45" wide also available.
Chest of Drawers on Hairpin Legs by Edward Worm...
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Birch, Walnut
Chest of drawers on hairpin legs by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Scarce Wormley Design. Measures: 33" wide also available.
12-Drawer Dresser by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Dressers
Mahogany, Rosewood
12-drawer dresser With rosewood legs by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. This piece has been professionally restored.
Edward Wormley Dunbar Highboy Chest
Edward Wormley
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Mahogany
Edward Wormley for Dunbar highboy chest of drawers, circa late 1950s. This gorgeous example has six drawers with mustard lacquered fronts and matching top and solid mahogany frame a...
Four-Drawer Chest by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Dressers
Mahogany, Rosewood
Ebonized four-drawer chest with rosewood legs by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. This piece has been professionally restored.
Rare Edward Wormley Dunbar Janus Chest
Edward Wormley
Vintage 1950s American Cabinets
Brass
Rare Edward Wormley for Dunbar Janus chest #5811, circa early 1950s. This all original example has a solid dark walnut frame with large dove tail detailing and inset lighter walnut d...
Ed Wormley for Dunbar Chest with Seven Graduate...
Edward Wormley
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Wood
Late 1950s Dunbar seven-drawer chest by Ed Wormley. Warm medium brown walnut finish. Solid oak secondary wood is used for the drawers, which are dovetailed on all four corners. Leath...
Ebonized Pair of Chest by Edward Wormley for Du...
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Dressers
Leather, Mahogany
Ebonized pair of chest by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. This pair can also be used as oversized nightstands.
Vintage Dunbar Four-Drawer Chest by Ed Wormley
Edward Wormley
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Brass, Ceramic, Leather, Wood
Scarce late 1950s Dunbar four drawer chest by Ed Wormley. An innovative use of dovetail-style joinery on the top side corners make for a subtle, but striking feature. A slight variat...
Rare Pair of 1940s Edward Wormley for Dunbar Ri...
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Vintage 1940s American Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Brass
Pair of extraordinary Edward Wormley design plinth-base commodes of bleached ribbon mahogany with five drawers, two over three. Reeded casement detail front and stepped plinth base. ...
Restored Pair of Chests by Edward Wormley
Edward Wormley, Drexel
Vintage 1940s American Mid-Century Modern Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Brass, Elm
A beautiful pair of chests by Edward Wormley for Drexel, circa 1947. Expertly constructed in silver elm and finished in cream lacquer. The functional size and scale allow for a multi...
Edward Wormley for Dunbar Seven-Drawer Mahogany...
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Dressers
Mahogany
A rare and beautiful mahogany Mid-Century Modern tallboy dresser designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. The dresser features stunning mahogany wood grain and a sleek, Minimalist desi...
Edward Wormley for Dunbar Rosewood Five-Drawer ...
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Dressers
Brass, Mahogany, Rosewood
Very rare vintage Mid-Century Modern rosewood five-drawer chest by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Item features a solid mahogany case with rosewood drawer fronts, solid brass ring form d...
Pair of Chests by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
Edward Wormley
Vintage 1950s Commodes and Chests of Drawers
An elegant pair of three-drawer chests in black walnut with rosewood pulls and brass feet. Designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar.
Edward Wormley for Dunbar Storage Cabinets
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Cabinets
Brass, Mahogany
Wormley for Dunbar cabinets. 4900 each and 14000 for all three. Bleached mahogany, solid brass hinges. Two door dimensions: Depth 20 in. Width 38 in. Height 34.25 in. Hinge...
Edward Wormley for Dunbar Rosewood Commode
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Rosewood
A rare rosewood commode designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Small-scale and deeply sculpted front with tapered canted legs. Dunbar model no. 6335.
Mahogany Chest by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
Edward Wormley
Vintage 1950s Commodes and Chests of Drawers
A mahogany chest with five drawers and a bifold door concealing two cane shelves. Designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar.
Rare Olive Burl Cabinet by Edward Wormley for D...
Edward Wormley
Vintage 1950s Cabinets
A rare and beautiful two-door cabinet with solid brass knockers and Spanish marble top. Designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar.
Edward Wormley Dunbar Walnut and Brass Chest
Edward Wormley
Vintage 1950s American Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Brass
Edward Wormley for Dunbar walnut and brass chest of drawers, circa late 1950s. This all original example has nine drawers, two doors with internal shelves and a lovely subtly curved ...
Faux Ivory Low Chest by Dunbar
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Brass, Mahogany, Lacquer
Wonderful custom Dunbar chest designed by Edward Wormley redone in a faux ivoy finish. Great scale which could easily be used behind a sofa or under a window.
Edward Wormley for Dunbar Dresser
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Vintage 1940s American Mid-Century Modern Dressers
Mahogany
Wormley for Dunbar: Six drawer dresser, finish original "Black Coffee mahogany"
Stunning Edward Wormely Chest/Buffet/Credenza i...
Edward Wormley
Vintage 1940s American Mid-Century Modern Buffets
Brass, Wood
A Beautiful multi-purpose case piece by Edward Wormley for Drexel, circa 1947. Wonderful design allows for use as a chest, buffet or credenza. Restored in black lacquer to provide co...
Chic Edward Wormley Commode
Edward Wormley
20th Century American Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Walnut
Chic Edward Wormley Commode 2 drawers side by side on top raw and 3 additional drawers below
Modern Credenza or Chest by Edward Wormley for ...
Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Credenzas
Mahogany
Modern Credenza or Chest, designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar, American, circa 1950's. This is a versatile piece and can be used as a credenza, bookshelf, or bar in a living area, ...
Edward Wormley for Dunbar Sideboard
Edward Wormley
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Sideboards
Very elegant sideboard with four drawers and tambour doors.
Small Precedent Dresser by Edward Wormley for D...
Edward Wormley
Vintage 1940s American Commodes and Chests of Drawers
This small dresser was designed by Edward Wormley for Drexel's Precedent Collection. It is composed of silver elm and features four drawers with brass-plated zinc pulls.
Edward Wormley Nightstands/Chest of Drawer
Edward Wormley
Vintage 1950s American Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Pair of Edward Wormley Nightstands or Chest of Drawers Manufactured by Dunbar
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