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Mitchell & Rammelsberg Victorian Furniture

High Style Home Furnishings Dating to the Mid-1800s

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Mitchell & Rammelsberg Etagere

Mitchell & Rammelsberg Etagere - Walnut with Original Marble

- Photo Courtesy of Salado Creek Antiques (www.saladocreekantiques.com)
While some sources cite Mitchell & Rammelsberg’s beginning as 1847, an excerpt from 1875 Kenny’s Illustrated Cincinnati indicates the business was established in 1836. Regardless of the date this company began doing business in Cincinnati, Ohio, it is widely regarded as one of the premier manufacturers of Victorian-era furniture, and it was purportedly the largest of its time, according to Kenny’s.

“The manufactories are in all probability, the largest engaged in the manufacture of furniture in the world. The working area of floors amounts to 242,450 square feet. There are, altogether, 80 wood working machines, propelled by steam. The number of hands employed is 750. The lumber yards cover about two acres. The business was established in the year 1836, and grew from a very small beginning to its present mammoth proportions. Perhaps there is no other establish in Cincinnati that grew in proportion as fast as the city itself. The retail salesrooms are well worth visiting. The traveler will probably not see in any city in Europe or America such a rare collection of fine articles in the furniture line as may be seen on the second floor of the establishment on Fourth Street.”

Popularity of the Mitchell & Rammelsberg brand grew when the company exhibited at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876. After producing high quality home furnishings that were both beautifully crafted and functional for several decades, the firm became The Robert Mitchell Furniture Company in 1881, and continued making furniture until 1940, according to information provided by wikicollecting.org.

Identifying Mitchell & Rammelsberg Pieces

Many pieces of furniture made by this fine manufacturer are indeed marked. For instance, bed connectors may be marked “M & R” or one drawer in a set may be stamped Mitchell & Rammelsberg inside. Checking each piece in a set, and each component on every piece is imperative to avoid overlooking a mark.

Identification is more difficult when sets are split up and not all pieces were marked. This happens over time when families divide estates or dealers sell off sets they acquire piece by piece. When a mark isn’t present, looking at the quality of the wood, carving details, and the types of decorative embellishments may indicate a Mitchell & Rammelsberg piece.

A number of different styles popular in the Victorian era were produced by this meticulous firm including Neoclassical, Rococo Revival, Renaissance Revival, Queen Anne Revival, Egyptian Revival and even those with a Japanese influence. They most often used top quality mahogany, rosewood and walnut woods. The carving on these pieces, including high relief animals and fruit motifs, will be top notch as well. Museum-quality pieces have also been noted as having ivory drawer pulls and onyx embellishments.

Selling Prices for Mitchell & Rammelsberg Pieces

Among the items made by Mitchell & Rammelsberg in the mid-1880s were bedroom suites including bed frames and dressers, dining sets with matching sideboards, desks, sofas, hall trees and occasional tables. The bedroom sets made of mahogany and rosewood with multiple matching pieces featuring elaborate carving or other embellishments demand top dollar with today’s collectors.

Walnut pieces, by and large, are less valuable unless very elaborately carved and decorated. The number of pieces in a set, quality of the wood, and overall decoration determines how much bidders and buyers are willing to spend.

Sample values:

Five Piece Bedroom Suite – Matching half tester bed, wardrobe, dresser, wash stand and half commode crafted of fine wood from Katherine Creamers estate sold in June, 2009 at Stevens Auction Co. in Aberdeen, Miss. Selling price: $51, 700

Walnut Hall Tree - Elaborately carved hall tree standing 101 1/2-inches high and 53-inches wide sold at Christie’s in New York in September, 2011. Selling price: $18,750

Burled Walnut Bedroom Suite - Matching bedstead and princess dresser with cartouche crest and floral and burl panels sold in April, 2012 at Neal Auction Co. in New Orleans, La. Selling price: $5,750

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