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And knowing that, you also get some very valuable information about the age of the piece on which you saw the joint. Knapp patented his first joint-making machine in 1867.

In 1870, he sold the rights to an improved version of the patented machine to a group of investors who formed the Knapp Dovetailing Co. The investors proceeded to make further refinements in the machine and actually put it into production in a factory in 1871 where it proved to be a technological miracle.

By the mid-1870s, the great factories were in full swing turning out late-Victorian creations consisting mostly of Renaissance Revival and Eastlake furniture.

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Like so many things, its demise turned on sentiment.Over time, maintenance on the machines became a chore, but they were still a better alternative to handwork.In the late 1800s, the Knapp joint was commonly found in the less-expensive version of the Renaissance Revival style called “Cottage Renaissance.” These pieces were made of inexpensive lumber and were cheaply decorated and finished.Early furniture from this period is known from artwork such as a Venus figurine found in Russia, depicting the goddess on a throne.The first surviving extant furniture is in the homes of Skara Brae in Scotland, and includes cupboards, dressers and beds all constructed from stone.

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