Chicago Antiques Guide

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Victorian Marble Top Washstand

Posted Friday, December 30 by Brian

I am attaching a pix of one of two old pieces that belonged to my grandmother. The marble tops have a Niagara Marble Works, Buffalo, NY logo, but the only label I can find on the chest is the small remaining portion I am sending. The other chest of drawers, not pictured, has a flat marble top. The red color in the photo is very near the real color of the finish and I don't think has been altered, at least while my grandmother had it. I have no idea about the age of this furniture, but I am hoping you can tell me. The story goes that she bought it at an auction in Wisconsin Rapids, WI, circa1920.


(Wonderful job on your site! I have been watching it progress and love reading your responses to the questions people send you.)
Thanks for the the kind words about the site. The piece in the photo is a washstand. It was designed to hold a wash set that always included a basin and water pitcher and frequently a soap dish, toothbrush holder and drinking glass. They were kept in the bedroom, before indoor plumbing was common. The vertical pieces of marble form a backsplash or just "splash", because it was intended to keep water from splashing onto the walls.

If the color of the finish is original (and it could be), then the piece is probably made of a softer wood like pine or poplar, rather than oak or ash. It dates to the end of the 19th century, about 1890, but this style was popular for about 20 years. It would be considered more of a country piece in style, sometimes called cottage furniture. The name of the manufacturer would not likely affect the value. The small piece of label that you sent a photo of, only shows "...... Furniture Co. / ......c, Wis" I'm guessing it was made in Fondulac, Wisconsin. I seem to recall seeing furniture with a Fondulac label, but don't remember the name. It was probably a small regional company that made furniture for the uper midwest rural market.

The color and type of wood is going to hold the value down a bit. It would probably sell in the $200 range, give or take a little for geographical variations in pricing.

I won't be able to say much about the other piece without seeing a picture. Feel free to forward one, if you like.

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Hello, I have a washstand that is very similar to the one pictured here. When the movers moved me from NJ to UT they smashed the top of the marble - not the back or side pieces (sorry, I don't know what these are called!).
I am at a loss as to how to replace the top flat portion and I'm looking for some ideas, such as have a piece of furniture-quality wood cut and "marbleize" it to look like the real thing.
Do you have any ideas?
Thank you so much.
Bobbi Staples

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