Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can you help me identify and value my vintage Heywood-Wakefield furniture?
Many people assume that when we acquired Heywood-Wakefield, we also acquired the old company's buildings, tools, patterns, samples, archives, spare parts, etc. This is not the case. In fact, the unfortunate truth is that virtually none of this seems to have survived. The old factory in Gardner, Massachusetts, while still in existence, is now a condominium called Heywood Place. All of the others have long since been sold and converted to other uses, or simply demolished. Tools, spare parts and other usable materiel were auctioned more than twenty years ago, patterns and tooling appear to have been discarded, and most records from the old company were either destroyed or have passed into private hands. Consequently much information appears to have been lost.
What information we have available is presented here in the hope it will prove useful. However our ability to answer these types of questions is limited, as our focus is on manufacturing new products for today's furniture buyers. Your understanding is appreciated.
Although we are not in the antiques or collectibles business, we can sometimes help people identify vintage pieces. However, certain guidelines must be followed.
We cannot identify anything from a verbal description. If you would like us to attempt to identify your furniture please e-mail a picture (JPEGs only) to email@example.com.
Because of great variations in value from region to region, we cannot attempt to place a value on your furniture. The best way to find out what your furniture is worth is to visit local vintage dealers or to buy the book Heywood-Wakefield Modern Furniture: Identification and Value Guide, by Steven and Roger Rouland, published by COLLECTOR BOOKS, P. O. BOX 3009, PADUCAH, KY 420023009, (800) 6265420.
Currently, "The Rouland Book" is the most frequently quoted source for identification of the Modern and Streamline styles of the 1930s, '40s, and '50s, and contains a price guide that is widely used by collectibles dealers and the general public. It is also the only reference book specifically devoted to Heywood-Wakefield furniture of this period. It contains verbatim reproductions of showroom and salesman's catalogs from the '30s, '40s, and '50s, along with some additional research on the company and various designers of the Modern lines. The "Rouland Book" does not contain everything there is to know about Heywood-Wakefield, but it is virtually the only source available "off the shelf" (i.e., without doing your own research). It can be purchased at bookstores or from the publisher.
If you own a piece that is not shown in the Rouland book, or if it is Colonial, Early American, Wicker, Rattan or Oak, there is no literature available except as noted below (see BOOKS), or in the few lines devoted to this type of furniture in Rouland. From time to time old Heywood-Wakefield catalogs become available from such sources as eBay, collectibles dealers or individuals on the Internet or in stores, or through ads in newspapers, magazines, etc. However many of these are also contained in Rouland. We do not have resources to determine the date of manufacture, original price or current value, of anything not shown in Rouland, and we do not maintain directories of buyers and sellers of vintage Heywood-Wakefield, as our focus is on the manufacture and sales of new Heywood-Wakefield furniture.
Theater, School and Auditorium Seating
The old Heywood-Wakefield company manufactured several lines of auditorium and theater seating, much of which seems to be still in use. We are frequently contacted by schools and other organizations looking to buy more of what they have, or to obtain replacement parts, or even to sell theater seating. We do not manufacture this type of product, and we are not aware of any company which manufactures completely interchangeable parts for old Heywood-Wakefield contract seating. However current auditorium or theater seating companies may have something that is close, or perhaps they can custom-make what is needed. The AMERICAN FURNITURE MANUFACTURERS' ASSOCIATION in High Point, NC, (919) 884-5000, should be able to direct interested parties to such manufacturers, and the CHICAGO MERCHANDISE MART's yearly NEOCON show, perhaps the country's largest and most complete exhibition of contract and commercial furniture, features American, European and Japanese manufacturers. Interested parties should call or visit the Mart at Mart Plaza, Chicago IL 60654, (312) 527-7600.
There are also several trade publications such as Wood and Wood Products Magazine and Custom Woodworking Business Magazine (address for both: P. O. Box 1421, Lincolnshire, IL 600691421) which sometimes feature advertisements of companies that make seating or components for seating. They maintain a website called Industrial Strength Woodworking (http://www.iswonline.com) which appears to be growing all the time. Industrial Strength Woodworking contains the online version of W&WP's "Red Book", which is a huge source guide used by woodworking professionals to source suppliers. You may find a company that can help you there. There is also the WoodWeb (http://www.woodweb.com), and searching Google for "theater seat manufacturers" returns at least three good sites.
Another idea is to try to locate former Heywood-Wakefield factory representatives who worked for the theater seating division. Believe it or not, many of these gentlemen and women are active on the Internet and are generally pleased to be of assistance. (However we don't have a list of these folks so please, no requests. If we find any we'll publish their email addresses, and former Heywood reps are invited to contact us if they would like to make their past expertise and experience available to the public. All information we receive will be held strictly confidential, and only email addresses will appear on our website, at your discretion.)
The old Heywood-Wakefield Company was the king of wicker and rattan furniture well into the 20th century, having nearly completely dominated this field in the second half of the 19th. Before the consolidation between Heywood Brothers & Company and the Wakefield Rattan Company, various labels were used and will appear on wicker furniture. Again, the most comprehensive source for this information is the first part of the book A COMPLETED CENTURY: THE STORY OF HEYWOODWAKEFIELD (see BOOKS, below), much of which appears verbatim in the first part of the "Rouland Book". Please see this source before contacting us for information on wicker and rattan, as there is not a lot we can add to the discussion that's not covered there. As stated above, we have no access to original pricing or dates of manufacture of a specific piece. In the case of wicker and rattan, many conventional antiques dealers have a good deal of knowledge on this category in general, and seem to be knowledgeable on Heywood-Wakefield to some degree as well.
In addition, some cities have antiques stores that specialize in wicker and rattan, and these are an obvious place to begin a search. Also, as mentioned in BOOKS, the Fine Arts section of most libraries will have books on American furniture which usually contain some discussion of this type of furniture.
Colonial & Early American Furniture
The old Heywood-Wakefield company had several lines that could be classified as Colonial or Early American, and from time to time pieces from these groups appear in used furniture stores, estate and garage sales, auctions, thrift stores, etc. To our knowledge, there is no one doing business exclusively in this type of Heywood-Wakefield, and no market for the styles seems to have established itself. Consequently, collectible values for these styles have not been established either, if in fact there are any. Our best guess is that whatever you paid for an item is what it's worth, and that it is probably a mistake to buy this furniture with the idea of selling it for a profit. Once again, Rouland devotes a few passages to this subject.
Of course, any well-preserved piece of Heywood-Wakefield Colonial or Early American will have value as good used furniture, and you can approximate the value of an item by comparing it to what is available today. A visit to any higher quality traditional furniture store should provide a basis for comparison. The NICHOLS & STONE COMPANY (www.nicholsandstone.com), also of Garnder, Massachusetts, makes many high-quality pieces in Early American and Colonial Styles. Perhaps requesting their catalog will provide both a basis for value comparison and a source for furniture that is compatible with Heywood-Wakefield Colonial and Early American, should your goal be to add to furniture you already have.
To our knowledge, there is no place to get vintage Heywood-Wakefield upholstery fabrics, of the types that are shown in the old catalogs, or as might be found on an individual piece of "found" furniture. Furthermore, the nature of the upholstery fabric business almost certainly guarantees that the companies which made original Heywood-Wakefield fabrics have long since closed or relocated. We do not reproduce the old fabrics; the fabrics on our website are chosen to reflect the original styles, but are modern fabrics that are in production today, and which meet today's standards for durability, fire-retardancy, etc. Besides our fabrics, there are quite a few patterns available that are consistent with styles of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, but be prepared to shop in the high end of this market. The Schumacher Company has museum reproductions of original Joseph Hoffman fabrics and other wonderful "retro" patterns; Kravet has many stylish and interesting patterns that are suitable for older styles of furniture (and are more moderately priced); and such things as Frank Lloyd Wright museum reproductions are available through the Taliessen Foundation. The Los Angeles, California, area has an abundance of upholstery manufacturers and fabric suppliers, and there are thousands of patterns available during the January fabric show in High Point, North Carolina. There are also a number of vintage fabric sellers in the U.S. who advertise in various places, such as ECHOES MAGAZINE, but vintage fabrics must be carefully inspected for signs of fatigue before committing to expensive re-upholstery jobs, and we generally don't recommend them for anything but replaceable cushions which can be changed easily and relatively inexpensively.
Heywood-Wakefield Modern Furniture: Identification and Value Guide by Steven and Roger Rouland, published by Collector Books of Paducah, KY.
Currently, "The Rouland Book" is the most frequently quoted source for identification of the Modern and Streamline styles of the 1930s, '40s, and '50s, and contains a price guide that is widely used by collectibles dealers and the general public. It is also the only reference book specifically devoted to Heywood-Wakefield furniture of this period. It contains verbatim reproductions of showroom and salesman's catalogs from the '30s, '40s, and '50s, along with some additional research on the company and various designers of the Modern lines. The "Rouland Book" does not contain everything there is to know about Heywood-Wakefield, but it is virtually the only source readily available "off the shelf" (i.e., without doing your own research). It can be purchased at bookstores or from these sources:
P. O. BOX 3009
PADUCAH, KY 42002-3009
305 S.W. CONSTITUTION STREET
PEORIA, IL 61602
The Rouland book begins by reprinting a substantial amount of information from an earlier work that may be hard to find, but which contains much information of a general nature about the Company before 1926. This is entitled A Completed Century: The Story of Heywood-Wakefield, and was actually the company's 1926 corporate report of its first hundred years* done up as a slim, hardbound volume and distributed to Heywood-Wakefield employees, complete with a personalized greeting card from Levi H. Greenwood, who was president at the time. This book was never released publicly, which is why it may be hard to find. However, a good book search company might be able to turn one up.
There are also a number of general or special-interest books dealing with furniture manufacturing, decorative styles, the production of wicker and rattan, innovations in manufacturing techniques and related subjects containing references to or passages about Heywood-Wakefield. The Fine Arts section of any good library will contain some of these. Browsing through the indexes to these books will often yield references to Heywood-Wakefield which may provide information on a particular subject of interest. Some of these books, while not directly concerned with Heywood-Wakefield, nevertheless discuss styles and types of furniture made during the same period, which may be of use. For instance, Bent Wood and Metal Furniture, 1850-1946, edited by Derek Ostergard, was produced in conjunction with a show that toured in the early 1990s, and has a wealth of information on mid-century styles and influences.
Another useful group of books are those about designers who were active in the middle of the 20th century, some of whom worked for Heywood-Wakefield at one time or another. These include Gilbert Rohde, Russell Wright, Leo Jiranek, Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky, W. Joseph Carr, Ernst Herrman, Alfons Bach, and others, some of whom where not even primarily furniture designers, but had a hand in influencing Heywood-Wakefield styles. Capsule histories of some of these people can be found in The Dictionary of Furniture, by Charles Boyce. This useful book also contains many insightful paragraphs dealing with a wide array of related subjects.
* The Company dated itself from 1826, when Walter Heywood first began making chairs in a shed on his father's Gardner farm.
What wood is the new Heywood-Wakefield made from?
New Heywood-Wakefield, like old Heywood-Wakefield, is made from solid Northern Yellow Birch. There is a misconception among some people that Heywood-Wakefield furniture was made from maple, but except for some early 1930s styles, this is not the case.
Is the new Heywood-Wakefield birch the same wood as the old?
Yes. However, because our finish is clearer and lighter than the original finishes, for many components of our furniture we select lumber of a higher grade than was originally used. For instance, table-top surfaces are constructed from SAP wood, which is lighter and shows fewer dark spots that lower grades of lumber, known as "heartwood".
Where do you get the wood?
Birch for Heywood-Wakefield comes from professionally-managed, environmentally responsible tree farms in New Hampshire. Birch is not an endangered species, and at least one tree is planted for every one taken.
Is the new Heywood-Wakefield made of solid wood? Any veneer, particle board, or plywood?
All new Heywood-Wakefield furniture is made from 100% solid Northern Yellow Birch. No veneer, particle board or plywood is used, except for the interior drawer dividers in one desk model. Using birch plywood for this component provides much greater strength and durability, and is completely invisible. All visible components on this and all other pieces are solid yellow birch. No veneer is used anywhere.
Where is the furniture made?
New Heywood-Wakefield is made in two locations. All wood furniture is made in north central Massachusetts. Upholstered pieces such as club chairs and davenports are made in western North Carolina.
What finish is available for new Heywood-Wakefield? Does it match the original finishes?
New Heywood-Wakefield is offered in a finish called "Amber". This is a special finish developed for us by the Sherwin-Williams company to be very close in color to vintage Heywood-Wakefield that has been stripped and refinished in a "natural" color. Some people refer to this color as "honey-wheat".
Amber is both clearer and lighter than either champagne or wheat, the two most common original Heywood-Wakefield finishes. While it is not an exact match for either of these finishes, many people have purchased new Heywood-Wakefield finished in Amber for use with vintage pieces of either original finish. Many people have also refinished their original pieces to match new Heywood-Wakefield, and if you have refinished vintage pieces, they will usually match well with Amber.
Are original Champagne and Wheat finishes available?
We do not offer any of the original finishes, either on our furniture or in bulk stains, and to our knowledge, there is nowhere to buy wheat and champagne ready-mixed.
Is the new Heywood-Wakefield finish the same chemical compound as the original finish?
No it is not. Originally Heywood-Wakefield was finished in nitrocellulose lacquer. New Heywood-Wakefield is finished in Kem-Var, which is a catalyzed conversion varnish made by the Sherwin-Williams company. Kem-var is many times stronger and much less prone to damage than lacquer, yet it retains the beauty of lacquer.
Are new Heywood-Wakefield pieces hand rubbed as the old ones were?
Yes, many of our pieces are finished this way, to include table tops, tops of bedroom pieces, etc.
Can I buy new Heywood-Wakefield furniture without a finish on it?
Under certain circumstances we can offer Heywood-Wakefield unfinished so that those who wish to match a particular finish may do so. Some restrictions apply; please phone (305) 858-4240 for details.
Furniture Questions - StyleMaster Beds
Can the StyleMaster bed be used as a platform bed or does it require a box spring?
The StyleMaster bed in Queen, King and California King sizes can be used either as a regular bed with box spring and mattress or as a platform bed, with no box spring.
The bed ships with the following components:
- Headboard (1)
- Footboard (1)
- Side rails (2)
- Center support rails (1)
- Adjustable center support feet (1 pr)
- Cross slats (4)
The side rails attach to the headboard and footboard by means of a metal clip and can be installed in one of two positions. When installed in the lower position, a box spring may be used, but depending on the depth of the box spring and mattress, the mattress may be higher than the footboard.
If you wish to use the StyleMaster bed as a platform bed, the side rails are installed in the higher position and the Platform Adaptor Kit is used. The Platform Adaptor Kit consists of an extra dozen solid birch slats, giving a total of 16 (4 are included with the bed). In this configuration there is no need for a box spring.
What is the cost of the Platform Adaptor Kit?
The Adaptor Kit costs $175.00, which is less than half the price of the average box spring.
When should I order a California King Bed?
The California King Bed is recommended only to buyers in California, or who have access to Cal/King mattresses, sheets and related items. Outside of California it can be difficult to buy Cal/King products, and we do not recommend purchasing a Cal/King bed unless you live in California.
Can I buy parts for my vintage Heywood-Wakefield?
At this time we do not offer replacement parts for any vintage Heywood- Wakefield and there are no plans to do so.
Where does Heywood-Wakefield ship from?
All new Heywood-Wakefield wood furniture ships from Massachusetts; all the upholstered ships from North Carolina.
Can I get the cost of shipping in advance?
Many factors are involved in figuring the cost of shipping, and it is not always possible to get exact costs in advance. However you can get an approximate cost by following the instructions here:
Estimate Your Shipping Costs
What is the construction of the new Heywood-Wakefield upholstered pieces?
New Heywood-Wakefield club chairs, davenports and love seats in the Madeline and Margaret series feature superior interior construction. All frames are 100% hardwood. All springs are 8-way hand-tied 9-inch coil springs. Each upholstered piece is built to order. Biscayne series davenports, chairs and love seats are 100% solid birch frames with spring-interior seat cushions and foam backrests. Biscayne series items have elastic webbing to support the cushions.
Does the price for an upholstered piece include the fabric?
No, it does not. Fabrics are priced separately due to the great variety of fabrics available. However, the price does include installing the fabric and constructing the piece.
May I use my own upholstery fabric instead of yours?
Yes, you are welcome to supply your own fabric if you do not find one in our collection that suits your taste or purpose. At the time of your order you will be given instructions where to send the fabric.
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