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Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

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.

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Dunbar Woven Front Chest, Mahogany and Brushed Nickel, Signed
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in New York, NY
Edward Wormely for Dunbar woven front chest, mahogany and brushed nickel, signed. Medium scale commode, No. 4465, with two woven front sliding doors, two top exterior drawers and a f...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Nickel

1960s Pair of Vintage Mahogany Chests by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in London, GB
A magnificent pair of vintage mahogany chests, these were made in the USA by Dunbar furniture, they were designed by Edward Wormley. Edward Wormley was one of the leading pioneers of...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Mahogany

Wormley / Dunbar Black / Brown Frame / Walnut Drawers and Brass Chest of Drawers
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Houston, TX
Offered is a Mid-Century Modern Edward Wormley for Dunbar black or dark brown wood frame with walnut drawers and brass pulls, chest of drawers or dresser. The offered chest of drawer...
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Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Brass

Pair of Leather and Walnut Chests Designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in Stamford, CT
A pair of chests in walnut with leather wrapped baseboards and blond handles. Designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar, circa 1955.
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Walnut

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Mid-Century Modern Bachelor Chests, Newly Refinished
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in South Bend, IN
An exceptional pair of Mid-Century Modern six-drawer bachelor chests or large bedside chests By Edward Wormley for Dunbar Furniture USA, circa 1950s White lacquered mahogany...
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1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Brass

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Mid-Century Modern Bachelor Chest, New Refinished
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in South Bend, IN
An exceptional Mid-Century Modern six-drawer bachelor chest or dresser By Edward Wormley for Dunbar Furniture USA, circa 1950s White lacquered mahogany, with Lucite and bras...
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1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Brass

Edward Wormley for Drexel Precedent Black Lacquered Bachelor Chest, Refinished
By Drexel, Edward Wormley
Located in South Bend, IN
An exceptional Mid-Century Modern five-drawer dresser chest By Edward Wormley for Drexel "Precedent" Collection USA, 1948 Black lacquered elm wood, with original brass drawe...
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Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Brass

Edward Wormley for Drexel Precedent Black Lacquered Bachelor Chests, Refinished
By Drexel, Edward Wormley
Located in South Bend, IN
An exceptional pair of Mid-Century Modern five-drawer bachelor chests or large bedside chests By Edward Wormley for Drexel "Precedent" Collection USA, 1948 Black lacquered e...
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1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Brass

Rosewood and Walnut 2-Drawer Chest by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Rosewood and walnut 2-drawer chest by Edward Wormley for Dunbar.
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Rosewood, Walnut

Edward Wormley for Drexel Precedent Black Lacquered Chest of Drawers, Refinished
By Drexel, Edward Wormley
Located in South Bend, IN
An exceptional black lacquered dresser chest or sideboard credenza By Edward Wormley for Drexel "Precedent" Collection USA, 1940s Black lacquered elm, with original brass ha...
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1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Brass

Edward Wormley for Drexel Precedent Black Lacquered Highboy Dresser, Refinished
By Drexel, Edward Wormley
Located in South Bend, IN
An exceptional Mid-Century Modern seven-drawer black lacquered highboy dresser By Edward Wormley for Drexel "Precedent" Collection USA, 1940s Black lacquered elm, with origi...
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1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Brass

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Mahogany Bachelor Chests or Large Nightstands, Pair
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in South Bend, IN
An exceptional pair of Mid-Century Modern five-drawer dressers or bedside chests By Edward Wormley for Dunbar Furniture "3500 Series" USA, 1940s Bleached mahogany with reces...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Leather, Mahogany

Edward Wormley for Dunbar, Berne, Indiana, circa 1970
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Edward Wormley bachelor chest for Dunbar, Berne, Indiana, circa 1970 Dunbar, Berne, Indiana, circa 1970, signed/stamped on back Measures: Walnut H 31, W 34, D 20 in.
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Walnut

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Rosewood Three-Drawer Chest, circa 1960s
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in South Bend, IN
A gorgeous Mid-Century Modern three-drawer dresser chest or office filing cabinet in book-matched rosewood By Edward Wormley for Dunbar Furniture USA, circa 1960s Measures: ...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Rosewood

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Rosewood Chests of Drawers or Nightstands, Pair
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in South Bend, IN
A gorgeous pair of Mid-Century Modern chests, filing cabinets, or nightstands in bookmatched rosewood By Edward Wormley for Dunbar Furniture USA, circa 1960s Measures: 21" W...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Rosewood

Early Pair of Louver Front Dressers by Edward Wormley
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Providence, RI
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...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Mahogany

1950s Solid Walnut Dresser by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Sagaponack, NY
An asymmetrical dresser in solid walnut with exposed finger jointed joinery, having a shelved compartment accessed by bi-fold doors flanked by a bank of five drawers with exquisite b...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Brass

Edward Wormley Seven-Drawer Dresser
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Chicago, IL
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...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Mahogany, Rosewood

Edward Wormley Primavera Mahogany Commode
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Edward Wormley for Dunbar 5-drawer cabinet, mahogany wood with tapered brass legs. [metal tag Dunbar].
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Brass

1960s Rosewood Commode by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Sagaponack, NY
Finely crafted rosewood commode with grain matched serpentine front and shaped rosewood sides. The commode offers two full drawers sporting turned, solid rosewood and generously prop...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Rosewood

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Walnut Chest with Leather Handles
By Edward Wormley
Located in St.Petersburg, FL
A stylish and timeless four drawer chest by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Green label, leather clad handles.
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Walnut

1950s Bleached Mahogany Chest of Drawers by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Sagaponack, NY
An elegant and well proportioned eight (8) drawer bleached mahogany cabinet having distinctive laminated end pulls, on tapered dowel legs.
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Mahogany

Edward Wormley Dunbar Walnut and Brass Chest
By Edward Wormley
Located in Phoenix, AZ
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 ...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Brass

Dunbar Cabinet, Mahogany and Brass, Four Doors, One Drawer, Excellent
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Kansas City, MO
Storage chest or cabinet designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Expertly refinished mahogany case with solid brass hardware. Two wide center drawers reveal an adjustable shelf. Two o...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Brass

Small Precedent Dresser by Edward Wormley for Drexel
By Edward Wormley
Located in Boston, MA
Edward Wormley designed this small four-drawer dresser for Drexel's Precedent Collection. Composed of silver elm, it features large brass-plated zinc pulls.
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Brass

Edward Wormley Pair of Chest for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in Costa Mesa, CA
Pair of chest of drawers by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Bentwood pulls with rosewood legs.
Category

20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Mahogany, Rosewood

Edward J. Wormley for Dunbar Cabinet with Asian Hardware
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
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 Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Brass

Single Edward Wormley for Drexel 48" Chest
By Drexel, Edward Wormley
Located in St. Louis, MO
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...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Brass

Dunbar Rosewood High Chest with Brass Ring Drop Pulls
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Rockaway, NJ
Mid-Century Modern five drawer Dunbar chest by Ed Wormley. Rosewood mahogany two-tone combination. Brass ring drop pulls.  
Category

20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Brass

Chest of Drawers by Edward Wormley
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Sagaponack, NY
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...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Aluminum

Rare Edward Wormley for Dunbar Custom Contract Right and Left Cabinets
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Ferndale, MI
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...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Wood

Chest of Drawers on Hairpin Legs by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Ferndale, MI
Chest of drawers on hairpin legs by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Scarce Wormley Design. Measures: 33" wide also available.
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Birch, Walnut

Chest of Drawers on Hairpin Legs by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Ferndale, MI
Chest of drawers on hairpin legs by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Scarce Wormley Design. Measures: 45" wide also available.
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Birch, Walnut

Rare Edward Wormley Dunbar Janus Chest
By Edward Wormley
Located in Phoenix, AZ
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...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Brass

Ed Wormley for Dunbar Chest with Seven Graduated Drawers
By Edward Wormley
Located in Geneva, IL
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...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Wood

Ebonized Pair of Chest by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Laguna Hills, CA
Ebonized pair of chest by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. This pair can also be used as oversized nightstands.
Category

20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Leather, Mahogany

Restored Pair of Chests by Edward Wormley, circa 1947
By Drexel, Edward Wormley
Located in Atlanta, GA
A beautiful pair of Modern 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 ...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Brass

Pair of Chests by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in Dallas, TX
An elegant pair of three-drawer chests in black walnut with rosewood pulls and brass feet. Designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar.
Category

1950s Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Rosewood Commode
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Palm Springs, CA
A rare rosewood commode designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Small-scale and deeply sculpted front with tapered canted legs. Dunbar model no. 6335.
Category

20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Rosewood

Mahogany Chest by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in Dallas, TX
A mahogany chest with five drawers and a bifold door concealing two cane shelves. Designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar.
Category

1950s Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Faux Ivory Low Chest by Dunbar
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Kilmarnock, VA
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.
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Brass

Stunning Edward Wormely Chest/Buffet/Credenza in Black Lacquer
By Edward Wormley
Located in Atlanta, GA
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...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers

Materials

Brass

Edward Wormley Nightstands/Chest of Drawer
By Edward Wormley
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
Pair of Edward Wormley Nightstands or Chest of Drawers Manufactured by Dunbar
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Commodes and Chests of Drawers