Jamestown Lounge Co.

[1] Jamestown Lounge Co., started making upholstered furniture in 1888. in Jamestown New York.

Some notes on Feudal Oak: I've studied photographs of Feudal Oak and seen many pieces of it (about 600 or so, from all periods of manufacture from 1928 to 1981) over the years, and my understandings of it are largely based on physically observing the different pieces and finishes. It is often the case that Feudal Oak will not "match" because of the differences in the finish. "Feudal Oak" refers to a type of finish as well as to a style of furniture, and both underwent significant variations from 1928, when Feudal Oak was first branded as such as sold, until 1981, when Jamestown Lounge Co. went bankrupt. The earliest Feudal Oak had some mahogany in it, and a slight reddish tinge; it was also heavily distressed; there was also a Feudal Oak finish that was very deep brown, nearly black. also used on distressed Feudal Oak (1928 to sometime in the early 1930s). By the mid-1930s, the heavy distressing was dropped, possibly for cost reasons, and there was a more tan Feudal Oak finish that was developed; however, this finish was also characterized by variation between light and dark, following the oak grain, in some cases the result of hand rubbing with steel wool, particularly on the carving. NOTE: Feudal Oak was not "hand carved" in the sense that while the master carvings were hand carved, the production pieces were just that---created by using a German duplication machine that would route out 20 pieces at a time, the operator guiding the routers by connection with a stylus used to trace the designs from the master carving, and the machine carving was produced from a variety of routers. By the mid 1950s,Jamestown Lounge Co. had developed a Feudal Oak finish that can only be described as homogenous, in the sense that it almost completely lacked variation, an effect that was no doubt achieved by sealing the white oak before staining (all Feudal Oak was manufactured from large stand of oak that grew near the Jamestown Lounge Co. plant). There are also various diagnostics that I've been able to define that in many cases can more accurately identify when particular pieces were manufactured. There are a lot of variations of the Feudal Oak designs that came out of the factory, some differences more subtle than others, and the catalogs are a fairly consistent way to identify them; the only problem with THAT is there are vastly more pieces of Feudal Oak out there than I have ever seen in any of the catalogs! It would be vastly interesting to see a complete run of Feudal Oak catalogs, and various pieces pictured in, e.g., the 1938 and 1941 catalogs, BUT NOT LISTED, offer hints into what surely is quite an array of Feudal Oak. During the 1960s, a variety of Feudal Oak finishes were available, and the "traditional" (if that's the correct word for it) Feudal Oak finish used at that time was a dark brown, with some contrast. There are at least 5 different Feudal Oak finishes that I know of that were developed; most of them could probably never be used in modern furniture manufacture today because of the toxicity of the chemicals. There are some modern proprietary products that can be used to touch up old Feudal Oak. Perhaps the best are the various Howard "Restor-A-Finish" products, which are available in Black Walnut, Oak, Dark Oak, Clear, and various other colors. Very judicious use of these products will absolutely cover scratches and other finish defects to the point they cannot be detected; however, one must be VERY careful about their use. The reason is that, particularly on dry or faded Feudal Oak finishes, or even regularly preserved Feudal Oak finishes application of such products can and will permanently change the color of the finish, and there is virtually no way to change it back. So be careful. Feudal Oak was originally finished with a spray wax mixed with Rotten Stone (hence, the effect of "dust" in the crevices of the carving designs) applied over a hard, proprietary lacquer created by Jamestown Lounge Co., which was exceptionally durable. The original, factory "finish" of Feudal Oak was fairly shiny. Waxing is important to keep the finish from drying out, and there's a variety, the most expensive being Rennaisance Wax. Less expensive waxes include Briwax, which is available in Clear and a variety of colors; it is a blend of natural waxes that can be used to clean off old, dried wax without damage to the underlying finish. Again, it can and will change the color of an original finish, so use caution and test it on an inconspicuous area, as with any product one would apply to Feudal Oak for any reason. Stay away from polishes that contain silicon, because it can be extremely difficult to remove; likewise, avoid Lemon Oil and similar products, because they will only mess up the wood.

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