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George W. Ahrens American, b. 1836-


Patent: Storage compartment for storing leaves in the extension table, March 9, 1875

Exhibited: United States Centennial International Exhibition 1876 and Philadelphia, PA, no. 349

Recorded: United States Centennial International Exhibition 1876, Philadelphia, PA, Official Catalogue, Philadelphia, John R. Nagle, 1876 Page 114, number 349

Award: United States Centennial International Exhibition 1876, Philadelphia, PA, Medal and certificate award for originality of design and excellence of inlay

Aesthetic Movement extension table with elaborate inlay and additional leaves stored in an interior compartment.

29 ½”h x 43”d x 26” w (closed); 58 ½” w (2 leaves open); 100 ½” w (full extended)

This remarkable Aesthetic Movement extension table, with four additional leaves which were stored in an interior compartment, on turned and carved legs with inlay design by George W. Ahrens received a medal and a certificate award for originality of design and the excellence of the inlay at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The compartment for storing the additional leaves was patented by Ahrens on March 9, 1875. The table is listed as number 349 on page 114 of the official catalogue for the exhibition.

The Centennial Exhibition or its’ more official title, United States Centennial Commission International Exhibition 1876, was held in Philadelphia at what is now known as Fairmount Park.  The Exhibition was a sensation and a watershed in the development of American commerce. An article in the Philadelphia Enquirer said that this exhibition had, “stirred up the sluggish blood of dwellers in the back woods” as well as that of city dwellers. Millions of Americans from all over the country made the pilgrimage to the Centennial Exhibition 100 years after the country’s founding. It was indeed a great honor for Ahrens to have received a medal and certificate for his table at this storied site.

George W. Ahrens was born in Hessen, Germany on February 22, 1836. As a young man he apprenticed to a cabinet-maker in Germany for four years before setting out on his own and working in various areas of Germany. He moved to the United States with his brother John in 1858, stopping first in New York City and then moving to Chicago to start his own furniture-making company. George Ahrens quickly gained a reputation for his excellent inlay work and was reputed to be one of the foremost furniture makers of his day.

In Chicago Day Directories, Ahrens is listed as a cabinet maker at 168 Indiana, in Chicago in 1862. He seems to have run a “picture frame and looking-glass” company on 129 North Clark from 1864 to 1865 or 1866.  From 1865 through 1868 his business called Ahrens Madden, located at 151 Randolph Street in Chicago, was “doing a very extensive business”. He moved to Crete, Will County in Illinois after selling his Chicago-based business purportedly because of declining health. He reestablished himself in Crete in the furniture business as well as building hearses for his undertaking business.

Dimensions: 29 1/2"h x 43"d x 26"w closed (59"w open)

Item ID: F-T 224

Price available upon request

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