Antique Dresser Rescue and History – Rushville, Indiana

Last week I was out scouring my favorite antique and thrift stores looking for some beautiful pieces of furniture that I felt like would be good candidates for restoration. When looking for furniture, I generally look for pieces that are beyond just a basic “sand it down and stain it” repair. So most of the time, I end up with pieces that have missing veneer. missing pieces or overall are just not restorable without a furniture manufacturing plant. 🙂 This dresser set was one of those pieces, and I’m so glad I came across it!

Antique Dresser & Nightstand - Rushville Furniture Co. Restoration #BeforeandAfter #PaintedFurniture #Antique

This set was beautiful. It was made by The Rushville Furniture Company in Indiana in March of 1928. How do I know this – well there was a sticker on the back of the dresser, and (surprise) a date on the inside of the mirror! I expected this dresser was really old, but was actually surprised when I saw the date on the inside. This dresser would have been made only a little over a year before the Great Depression. I tried to find anything I could about this company – and there is VERY limited information on it. The city of Rushville was established in 1822, and started out with two very large furniture manufacturing companies, but Rushville Furniture Co. was not one of them. In the 1921’s it was listed on their business directory, but that’s really the only information I could find!

For being almost 100 years old, this set is in relatively good condition – but don’t let the photos fool you. The drawers are all still intact, but the entire piece is veneer and the veneer is peeling off in sheets (especially on the sides). The dresser was also missing the original knob and a chunk on the front. A little bit more wear on this set and it wouldn’t be restorable. (More on how to remedy that later!)

Antique Dresser & Nightstand - Rushville Furniture Co. Restoration #BeforeandAfter #PaintedFurniture #Antique

I originally thought I would remove some of the peeling veneer and possibly re-stain at least the majority of the set, but once I started to dig into that veneer to see what was underneath, I was a little disappointed to find out they had used some type of treatment on the wood that made every other piece have a green tint to it. I’m used to the red tint that you find with older pieces from time to time – but the green is new to me! The veneer on the top was still in good condition with just a few knicks and stratches, so I’ve settled for stripping and staining just the top.

More on this set coming soon!

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