YOUR GUIDE TO USED DREXEL FURNITURE
From bombe chests to Mid-Century dining sets to burl wood Parsons tables, Drexel Furniture is known for its super chic approach to a wide variety of furniture styles. If you’re craving a certain style of furniture, chances are Drexel has one in the archives. Featuring top-of-the-line craftsmanship, Drexel Furniture is on par with centennial makers like Baker Furniture, Dunbar, and Henredon. Considering a Drexel piece, but want to know more about the brand? We break down everything you need to know about the iconic brand, below.
THE FOUNDING OF AN ICON
In 1903, not long after the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, the Huffman family of Philadelphia identified a gap in the furniture market. At the time, producers were focused on custom furniture. Time-consuming to produce, these makers were forced to pass on hefty price tags to their consumers. The Huffman family believed that by focusing on mass-produced furniture, they could lower prices and make chic, affordable furniture available to all. Equipped with a crowd-sourced investment of $20,000 the Huffmans broke virgin ground for their new venture in North Carolina. They named the town in which their new company was founded, Drexel, the same as their new furniture company.
Superior quality quickly distinguished Drexel Furniture from competitors, as did masterful business moves. In addition to setting up shop right next to a major railroad junction, the Huffmans purchased competing furniture makers during the Great Depression years to bolster their portfolio and manufacturing capabilities. In the 1940s, the brand was among the first brands to begin marketing in magazines and built a close working relationship with keystone interior brands like House Beautiful.
By the 1950s, Drexel Furniture had established itself as a booming retail brand, offered by more than 2,5000 retailers across the country. They established themselves as a leader in multi-piece bedroom and dining sets. As their popularity grew—in 1966 Business Week ranked Drexel Furniture third among the top U.S. furniture manufacturers—the brand branched out into a range of styles that went beyond current trends. Here, the brand gained traction with designs ranging from Chinoiserie to Spanish-inspired. Today, the brand—which now simply goes by the name Drexel—offers an outstanding range of furniture for the living room, bedroom, dining room, and beyond. Their silhouettes hark to both traditional and modern influences, ensuring there’s a Drexel Furniture piece to suit everyone’s personal style.
THE DREXEL HALLMARKS
From Drexel Heritage Sofas to Drexel Heritage dining tables, Drexel Heritage furniture merges luxury with accessibility. Functionality is championed in every design, be it a Drexel Heritage end table or Drexel Heritage lamp. Each piece of Drexel Heritage Furniture is tailored to the nth degree, with one-of-a-kind-finishes and exclusive hardware that suits the piece’s style. Many pieces, including Drexel Heritage buffets and Drexel Heritage armoires feature such artisan details as hand-paintings and special inlays. While every collection produced by the brand is inherently special, the brand’s most sought after pieces include Drexel Heritage dressers and Drexel Heritage nightstands in the campaign and Regency styles. Those looking for iconic Mid-Century furniture will also find their niche with Drexel Heritage dining tables, Drexel Heritage coffee tables, and more in the Danish Modern and Scandinavian styles. Similarly, on the other end of the spectrum there are plenty of traditional Drexel Heritage furniture to go around—from Queen Anne-style tables to Neoclassical style benches.
CARING FOR YOUR DREXEL HERITAGE FURNITURE
Given that you can still find vintage and antique Drexel Heritage furniture from the 1940s and prior, there’s no question about the brand’s durability. To keep your Drexel Heritage end tables and Drexel Heritage dressers looking their best, be sure to wipe them down with a soft, dry cloth on occasion. You can also use a lemon-based furniture cleaner to give your piece some extra shine. And PSA: since liquids are always an enemy, be sure to keep a stack of coasters on hand (did we mention we have fabulous ones?)
For upholstered pieces like Drexel Heritage sofas and Drexel Heritage chairs, sturdy frames make it easy to swap out chair seats and backs. There’s also no reason to shy away from a full reupholster if you stumble across a Drexel Heritage sofa you love. Good bones means these vintage Drexel Furniture pieces are more than worth the splurge.
A WORD ON DREXEL HERITAGE VS DREXEL
When shopping for antique Drexel Heritage furniture, you’re likely to run into pieces marked Drexel Heritage and others marked Drexel. To clear up any confusion, they’re both the same and they both indicate the exact same quality! Post-2000 the brand cut the Heritage to freshen up their image. Regardless of the cut, the brand stays true to their 100+ year heritage.