In furniture from the 1700s and early 1800s, it’s not often that you’ll find a maker’s signature – it’s even more rare to find a signature on Shaker pieces. When you find a signed name, there are no set rules as to what medium was used and where the signing is located.
I’ve heard you can find names in chalk, usually white but sometimes in red or other colors. I have seen pieces signed in white chalk, but I cannot recall ever seeing or reading about a signature in red, blue, green or yellow chalk. Additionally, you’ll find names written in pencil or ink, and paint.
Other ways makers “signed” pieces during the period were with printed labels (which can be easy to fake), ink brands, impressed-iron and heated-iron brands. After 1825, stencils became a popular way to mark furniture.
It’s not so rare to find drawer sides marked with chalk or pencil in some way, but that was probably a way to keep the parts organized while working on the piece. Sometimes, however, you’ll find a signature there, too. I’ve also seen names painted across backboards, but that is rather bold and may have come later when a family was marking its property.
Other places to search for signatures are on drawer bottoms and inside the piece, most often on the case sides.
Have you seen signed furniture? No. Not yours, or a friends.