Kittinger History
History of Colonial Williamsburg® Furniture Reproductions
Made By Kittinger Company 1937-1990

While the Williamsburg® Restoration dates from 1926, it was not until eleven years later that, in answer to public demand, a Craft Program was developed with the idea of extending the historical and artistic influence of Colonial Williamsburg by making available to the public reproductions of some of its antique treasures. It was an educational program that it was hoped, would help "the future learn from the past" to paraphrase the legend on the Colonial Williamsburg seal, with resulting income designed to help maintain and support the organization.

The program of reproductions included items of furniture, glass, ceramics, prints, crystal, silver, pewter and glass. Each reproduction was to be a meticulous copy of the original antique in the Williamsburg® collection.

Colonial Williamsburg Foundation sought manufacturers who would be in sympathy with the extremely high standards required to reproduce the antiques. In their search they were not necessarily interested in finding the largest manufacturer in
the field, but rather the one who had the craftsmen, facilities and the interest along with an excellent record of high quality work. The original antique to be copied was withdrawn from exhibition and copied in exact detail by the manufacturer.

Williamsburg® Furniture Reproductions
By Kittinger

The Kittinger Furniture Company of Buffalo, New York with manufacturing facilities at 1893 Elmwood Avenue was selected in 1937 as the exclusive licensee for furniture by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. In the words of the WILLIAMSBURG®

Director of Merchandising, in the furniture field "the Kittinger Company was recommended to us along with others and we finally licensed them exclusively to make WILLIAMSBURG® furniture reproductions because we believed that they answered most completely our requirements."

The reproductions that Kittinger Company was called upon to make under this program were to be true copies of the original antique.

With all these reproductions there went a bill of sale in the eighteenth century manner (see illustration) bearing the seal of Colonial Williamsburg, Incorporated and setting forth the known history of the original and its location, with the hallmark (illustration) of the foundation stamped on each piece.

The furniture was exhibited, along with other reproductions at Craft House in WILLIAMSBURG®.

At the Ayscough house in Colonial Williamsburg in the early years of the program, Kittinger artisans dressed in quaint eighteenth century costumes and working with tools of colonial days, exhibited their craftsmanship to visitors. This shop, known as the "Forge and Wheel" was also called the "Kittinger Craft Shop". (See illustration.)

Between 1937 and 1990 more than three hundred antiques were reproduced for WILLIAMSBURG® by Kittinger. The pieces selected were both English and Colonial, late eighteenth century, from furniture's Golden Age.

Kittinger and WILLIAMSBURG® collaborated on this magnificent project for more than fifty years until their association ended in 1990. Their collaboration produced furniture reproductions known the world over for unquestioned authenticity. These pieces are still found today in the world's finest homes and even in the White House in Washington, D.C. Today, you can still find this furniture available on Elmwood Company's website.