Centennial Chest

Kittinger Pattern 1866-100;
H - 96 1/2"
W - 45 1/4"
OD - 24 3/8"

Mahogany with poplar drawer linings. Upper and lower sections separate. Center top cartouche and flame finials removable. Lower section: 4 drawers (top drawer with lock). Upper section: 8 drawers (5 lower drawers with lock). An exact reproduction of the original antique.

Elmwood Company was pleased to offer for sale Kittinger's Masterpiece, an exact reproduction of a famous Philadelphia high chest, meticulously reproduced in limited edition and originally offered for sale in 1966 to commemorate Kittinger Company's 100th Anniversary.

This chest was produced in order to highlight Kittinger Company's "Centennial of Craftsmanship", celebrating 100 years of the "skill of the hands."

The original antique selected for reproduction is a part of the Mabel Brady Garvan Collection at Yale University Art Gallery and on permanent display since 1930. The original antique remains at Yale and can be viewed yet today on the Yale University Art Gallery website. This chest is considered one of the finest and most detailed examples of the Philadelphia High Chest form.

The original antique was attributed to Thomas Affleck, a leading Philadelphia cabinetmaker of the period 1763-1775. Affleck was well known for the type of graceful, relief type, carving found on this chest. Affleck came to America from Scotland, setting up shop in the wealthy community of Philadelphia in the early 1760s, and in the ensuing years became famous for his artistry in wood.

Kittinger elected to produce 12 copies of the antique. Each chest is numbered and distinguished by a special brass plaque as well as other Kittinger Company markings. The brass plaque is engraved with the name of the original purchaser of the chest. The reproduction was examined and approved by the Curator, Yale University Art Gallery.

The Centennial Chests sold originally in 1966 for $8,500.00. The last of the chests was produced and sold in 1969 for $10,000.00. By comparison, a 3 bedroom house could be purchased in 1966 for about $10,000 and the Ford Mustang sold new in 1969 for $1999.

The #1 Chest toured the United States between 1966-1969 and was honored with private receptions at Kittinger Company showrooms.

The Elmwood Company has been honored to have handled the private resale of a number of the Kittinger Centennial Chests. This offering marks the fifth chest we've had the good fortune of offering for public sale on our website.

The reproduction of this elegant piece demanded the ultimate in skills of many talented and deeply experienced Kittinger craftsmen of the 1960s. They have long since retired yet their Kittinger centennial masterpiece remains and will surely be a prized antique of the future.

Probably never since the days of Thomas Affleck and his fine cabinetmaking shop in Philadelphia of the 1770s has a major cabinet piece requiring such detail and magnitude of craftsmanship been accomplished in America.

More Construction details of the Kittinger Centennial Highboy:

The upper section consists of three small drawers at the top, two drawers below them and then three full length drawers graduated in height from bottom to top.

Reproduction of the details of carving was accomplished by using clay impressions directly from the original chest. A total of 52 moulds were required to portray the complete carving of the original. Each reproduction required a total of 474 hours of hand carving time.

The brasses used on the reproduction are custom made copies of the original in solid cast brass and hand filed. The solid mahogany drawer fronts were carefully selected for their figured grain. Only mahogany boards which matched the grain of the original chest were finally selected for the reproductions.

Kittinger's finishing foreman studied the finish of the original chest at Yale University Art Gallery. All of the skills of the designer, carvers and cabinetmakers would be lost if the finish was not also applied with meticulous skill and planning. A special Kittinger finish was developed which matched the original finish of the antique. Also, an unusual black pigment was worked into the scroll molding of the bonnet top and fluting of the front corners, just as on the original, highlighting these parts.

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Kittinger placed this plaque in each of the chests and personalized it with the name of the original owner.
Kittinger Product Legend

HN = Historic Newport
CW = Colonial Williamsburg
WA = Williamsburg Adaptation
OD = Old Dominion
RH = Richmond Hill

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