Illustrated FURNITURE Glossary.


1. Dining: A table or bench on which meat and other things are dressed or prepared for use

2. Dining: A cupboard or set of shelves to hold dishes and cooking utensils

3. Bedroom: A piece of chamber (bedroom) furniture, as a chest of drawers or bureau, with a mirror


A type of cupboard, without legs. (Sideboards, another descendant of cup boards, usually have legs.)

Etymology: The French word "dresser" means "to arrange."

The 14th-century origin of dressers was "a board for placing drinking cups on" ("cupboard"), so these dresser "cup boards" with doors large enough to insert big pieces of pewter-ware are the direct descendants of medieval tiered dressers.

Bedroom dressers

Dressers first appeared in the Empire period and were perhaps most popular during the Victorian era. Early Victorian examples in mahogany, rosewood, or walnut were made in many revival styles, especially the Rococo and Renaissance. Typically these revival pieces have a large, shaped mirror, which is elaborately carved and turned, and many have marble tops.

By the turn of the century, oak was the preferred wood. Mostly factory made, these late Victorian dressers have various drawer arrangements: many have four or five full-length drawers with a mirror above, some have a deep bonnet cupboard on one side,and still others, several half-length drawers on one side and a mirror on the other.

In the 20th century, Mission-style oak dressers are characterized by their simple lines and sturdyconstruction.

Not to be confused with a dressing table

See also: The Collectors Weekly: "Dressers" Illustrations with ebay links

Examples from Buffalo:

Photos and their arrangement © 2005 Chuck LaChiusa
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