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Exceptional Restored Pair of Modern Chests by American of Martinsville

$22,000per set


A fabulous restored pair of cream lacquer chests from a rare series by American of Martinsville, circa 1950. Stout, expertly crafted mahogany case construction with stunning form. Lovely wormhole detail on the drawer fronts add the element of texture. The A of M designers were always great interpreters of furniture produced by competing manufacturers. Here, the influence of both Paul Laszlo and George Nakashima are evident. While the chests will integrate seamlessly into a modern setting, they are particularly interesting when juxtaposed against a traditional backdrop. Excellent Restored Condition. Professionally cleaned and re-lacquered. Retains the Maker mark. The price noted is for the pair. For change of lacquer color, please add $1000/pair.


  • Creator
  • Dimensions
    Height: 31 in. (78.74 cm)Width: 38 in. (96.52 cm)Depth: 22 in. (55.88 cm)
  • Sold As
    Set of 2
  • Style
    Mid-Century Modern (Of the Period)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
    circa 1950
  • Condition
    Wear consistent with age and use. Excellent Restored Condition. Installation ready. Meticulous professional restoration performed in the Tom Robinson Modern facility. The chests are shipped completely installation ready.
  • Seller Location
    Atlanta, GA
  • Reference Number
    Seller: Tom Robinson Modern - WH51stDibs: LU8581929702

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    Rates vary by destination and complexity.
    Ships From: Atlanta, GA
  • Return Policy

    This item cannot be returned.

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About the Manufacturer

American of Martinsville

American of Martinsville is today revered as one of the finest manufacturers of mid-century modern furniture in the United States, but its beginnings were unexpectedly humble. Well ahead of the Civil War, tobacco was a cash crop in places such as Virginia, and the plant was grown with frequency on farms in Martinsville and elsewhere. In the early 1900s, the business around tobacco was changing and the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company was expanding nationally, buying any Virginia factories in reach. Former tobacco producers Ancil Witten and Charles Keesee turned away from the business in 1906 and, with merely $30,000 in capital (and the support of local business leaders), began to manufacture bedroom furniture under the name American Furniture Company. In the 1920s, American Furniture Company expanded its offerings from bedroom furnishings. Alongside tallboy dressers and nightstands, Witten and Keesee’s outfit began to offer a range of dining-room sets to the discerning customer. By the 1950s, the name had been changed to American of Martinsville and the brand had gained a reputation for exquisite craftsmanship as well as its variety of furniture styles (Hollywood Regency, chinoiserie). Mass-marketed furniture meant big business in the postwar years and throughout the 20th century in Virginia, and factories owned by companies like Bassett Furniture and American of Martinsville remained busy as suburbanites bought furniture to fill the homes they were moving into. It isn’t difficult to spot American of Martinsville’s sturdy, solid designs — the lacquered walnut nightstands, mahogany coffee tables and more have long earned the admiration of mid-century modernism enthusiasts. The company’s high profile also owes to prominent attributes that distinguish its well-made vintage furniture, such as the use of wooden slats — inspired by Scandinavian modernism — on hutches and cabinet doors, the famous brass x’s inlaid on the tops of tables and dressers and the stately stacked type of the American of Martinsville logo, which usually appears in drawer interiors. The logo prominently features an eagle perched atop the lettering, its broad wings spread across the “American” portion. Besides quality manufacturing, American of Martinsville is additionally recognized for having incorporated the trends of the day. Inspired by designers like George Nakashima and Paul Laszlo, the brand was also known for innovations with wood. Merton Gershun was one of the company’s most prolific designers, and he was responsible for some of its most successful modern furniture lines using the richer, darker woods that would become emblematic of mid-century furniture. Gershun’s most popular line was reportedly Dania, with its sleek walnut credenzas fitted with stylish brass accents and large drawers. Today, American of Martinsville specializes in furniture for the healthcare and hospitality industries. Shop a wide selection of mid-century modern sideboards, dressers and more from American of Martinsville at 1stDibs.
About the Seller
5 / 5
Located in Atlanta, GA
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1stDibs seller since 2014
280 sales on 1stDibs
Typical response time: 1 hour
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