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The Finials On Our Antique Furniture

The Finials On Our Antique Furniture
November 9, 2013 Peter Hemerlein
acorn finial

For as long as we have had furniture, finials have been a part of them.  Whether antique furniture or newly made, finials are an integral part of style and decoration.  The term finial is technically defined as “a distinctive ornament at the apex of a roof, pinnacle, canopy, or similar structure in a building”, but finials are also used in architecture, furniture, and on curtain rods.

various furniture finials

These are some more common furniture finials. Picture courtesy of http://www.jamesdewandsons.com/beds/headboards-bedposts-finials.php

While many of the decorative finials found in antique furniture today are simple, we still see interesting and elaborate ones.  Some of the more elaborate can be found in the broken arch pediments of antique clocks and on the top of bed posts.  We have seen finials expertly turned and carved into all kinds of shapes.  Everything from acorns

acorn finial

Photo courtesy of http://store.betsiebayfurniture.com/accessories/acorn-finial.html

to produce and flora

Photo courtesy of http://antiques.about.com/od/furnitureelements/a/043011Finial.htm

Photo courtesy of http://antiques.about.com/od/furnitureelements/a/043011Finial.htm

and intricately carved animals.

animal finials

Photo courtesy of http://www.garystevenson.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=36

Case good pieces and dining chairs usually have a more plain finial that is no less attractive than the more elaborate ones above.

turned chair finials

Some kinds of antique chairs have turned finials like this.

brass finial

This finial is made from brass and is in a broken arch pediment of an antique corner cabinet

While not necessarily structurally important, the finial is definitely a great tool for making our antique furniture more interesting and is a great outlet for craftsmen to showcase their carving skills.

amber flame finial

This finial is made from amber shaped like a flame on a brass base for lamp tops. Courtesy of http://www.myrlg.com/products/amber-clear-glass-flame-finial.html