Montgomery County furniture makers combined popular and regional styles to create unique furniture.
Unlike today’s imported mass-manufactured furniture, early Montgomery County furniture was more personal in design. In the eighteenth century, English designs dominated Philadelphia, which was the style center of the Mid-Atlantic due to its role in trade and politics. Montgomery County furniture makers used these styles as a template to create their own designs. Many furniture makers also fused elements of local ethnic cultures, such as German and Welsh, to appeal to their customers.
This desk was made by Norristown undertaker and cabinet maker David Y. Mowday. He was born at Pine Iron-Works in 1834. Mowday moved to Norristown where he worked for cabinet maker and undertaker Reuben C. Titlow. When Titlow died in 1858, Mowday opened his own business. Eventually, Mowday changed his business to be exclusivly an undertaker. The Mowday Funeral home continued, even after Mowday's death, well into the 20th century.
This chair was made by Norristown cabinet maker and undertaker Reuben C. Titlow. He opened his business on May 22, 1844. Throughout his career, Titlow made a variety of items such as chairs, bureaus, bedsteads, and coffins. Titlow died on February 12, 1858 at the age of 41. He is buried at historic Montgomery Cemetery in Lot Q-33/34.
This teatable was made in 1860 by Emma Kratz, possibly while she studied at the Excelsior Normal Institute. This design, and others she likely made when she lived in Collegeville, are known as tinsel paintings. Popular among women in the late nineteenth century, tinsel paintings were made from metallic foil that was applied behind glass. When viewed under light, the artwork produces a unique shimmer.