Basic Overview of Kling Furniture
Kling Factories was a volume manufacturer of furniture--mostly bedroom furniture--throughout the 20th century. At its peak, it was producing furniture in four plants and employed as many as 500 people. There have been many designs or "suites" produced through the years. As part of their business strategy, Kling offered furniture in all price ranges, from simple maple chests to elaborate mahogany hi-boys, as well as trendy modern designs and reproductions of ornate styles with design details such as ball and claw feet. Desks and dining room furniture were offered during some periods. One thing that was consistent about all Kling furniture was a strong commitment to quality. Since Kling furniture was well built and produced in high volumes many pieces remain today, and these would be properly referred to as "vintage" furniture (antique furniture should be 100 years or older).
BASIC INFO: In this section you will find: Click on Each
How Old is my Kling Furniture?
What are back stamp numbers?
Is my Kling Furniture Valuable?
Kling Furniture styles through the years.
Help Me! You may wish to use our popular $12 research service, normally completed between 1 and 3 days. SEE DIRECTLY BELOW.
$12 Personal Express Consultation Service. Since Kling produced hundreds of different suite numbers in many styles over the 80 year run of the Kling furniture brand, many customers choose this fast and convenient service. A Kling family member will contact you and ask for basic information about your furniture including the drawer tag style and backstamp number; basic pictures may also be required. The initial contact is normally made within 24 hours and the research is almost always completed within 72 hours from your purchase, often quicker. You will receive in PDF format via email documents (pricelists, sales literature, etc.) and a documentation letter verifying age, wood type, style, etc. A general range of value is normally discussed, and customers are able to ask follow-up questions. If there is insufficient documentation for your furniture we will refund your $12. After purchase, if you have questions or wish to speed up the service, you can email James.Kling@yahoo.com.
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How Old is my Kling Furniture?
In general terms, this question can usually be answered fairly easily with the information below.
1962 to 1990’s. Burned in “Kling Colonial” or “Kling” drawer markers as shown here. Klinginfo.com has many “Kling Colonial” catalogs and offers a $8 Scanning Service to send you promotional images and basic information about furniture in this era.
1946-1962 A rectangular metal drawer tag, as shown below, was very consistently used on all Kling Furniture in this era. With this marker and the back stamp numbers, Klinginfo.com can usually document furniture very well. In fact we have many common requests for information from this era viable in our INSTANT "R series" products.
1936-1945. A Round Metal label, as shown above right was used inconsistently in this time period. For whatever reason, it was rarely used on pre-war maple Kling pieces and therefore many very lovely solid Kling maple pieces can only be identified by the backstamp number or shipping label. However, back stamps were consistently used and Klinginfo.com has many price lists such as the one shown further down this page which can often determine the 2-4 year period when furniture in this era was produced.
1911-1935 Shipping labels are really the only way to identify Kling furniture in this era. Rather than “Kling” these labels often use Kling’s fully owned subdivision names “Chautauqua Cabinet Company,” “Brocton Furniture” or “Frewsburg Furniture.” Back stamps were used and occasionally we can match up a piece of furniture to a 1920’s catalog image and number in our archives. The style number or back stamp number is also shown on the shipping label, as seen for #815 above. However, note that shipping labels were used in all time periods. In other words, a 1955 piece of furniture may have a drawer label and a shipping label.
Since the 1930’s Kling Factories consistently stamped a number on the back of each piece of furniture produced. These numbers represent the style or “suite” number. For instance, a suite might be referred to as “Number 350” and the basic chest, dresser, vanity and nightstand would be labeled with a 350. Alternate pieces such as double dressers, chest-on-chests, etc. would be 351, 352, etc.. Most of these numbers are two digit or three digit, and occasionally four digits. Suite numbers are not in any chronological order and many were used multiple times through the years. Thus the combination of drawer label type and back stamp number is particularly important to correctly identifying Kling furniture. Klinginfo.com has over 700 dated pricelist sheets dated between 1936 and 1960. (see image following backstamps) .
Archivists and Researchers of Kling Furniture Information: 1911-1962
The price list you see here is a copy of one page of the wholesale price book used by the main office of Kling Factories in Mayville, N.Y. These are the prices the factory charged to furniture retailers and other wholesale buyers. The significance of this document is that it matches the suite or item number found on the back of furniture with the date that it was offered. These prices should never be considered a current value or appraisal value of furniture.
What about six digit numbers starting with 3, such as 32-0056? Shortly after Kling Factories was bought out in 1962 by Baumritter Ethan Allen, the use of a burned in “Kling Colonial” drawer marker was adopted and back numbers changed to six digit numbers starting in 3, such as 3X-0000. Klinginfo.com has many “Kling Colonial” catalogs and offers a $8 scanning service to send you promotional images and basic information about furniture in the post-1962 time period.
Is my Kling furniture Valuable?
At this time, the simple fact that a piece of furniture is identified as Kling does not automatically make it valuable--it is akin to asking if a 1965 Ford car is valuable. 1965 Ford Mustangs and Thunderbirds in good condition are highly collectable but a rusting 65 Ford Galaxie won't attract much collector interest. Some styles and pieces of Kling furniture can be worth $1000 or more. Certain bedroom sets make excellent and affordable alternatives to lesser quality new bedroom furniture. Other styles of Kling furniture are valued only as solid utilitarian pieces. Vintage furniture markets are highly variable and values are very dependent on location, negotiation, and the condition of the furniture. For sure, Kling furniture in poor condition will not add much to your retirement fund.
Since 2008, Klinginfo.com has been providing information about Kling Furniture to the public through this website. We have an extensive archive of factory pricelists, old catalogs, design brochures, advertisements, and even blueprints of furniture under design. Thanks to our customers and others who contact us with pictures of their furniture and their stories, we continue to add images and important details to our knowledge base. We also follow the vintage furniture markets and extended Kling families have owned and seen a lot of Kling furniture.
While we cannot do formal appraisals by email we do assist customers with understanding the value of their furniture. All of our research products either broadly discuss value information or include a follow-up email where we can understand your furniture better and help you to assess its value. The R series of instant research products all address specifically the question: “Is my Kling furniture valuable and what should I do with it.?” The answer to this question differs by the style.
Kling Furniture Styles Through the Years
Klinginfo has no information on the furniture produced by Kling or the Chautauqua Cabinet Company between 1911 and 1923. Between 1924 and 1930, Kling offered furniture made of French Walnut and American Walnut and they were described as “Butt Walnut,” “Selected Veneer”, and “Combination Walnut.” A typical bedroom suite in this time period consisted of a bed, vanity, dresser and chifferobe. Kling briefly produced walnut dining room furniture from 1927 to 1929. The dresser and mirror pictured here is 1926. This style is typical 1920's furniture, ornate and expensive.
The 1930’s presented a period of significant transition in the type of furniture Kling produced. The depression created a need for rethinking the product line.
Governor Winthrop Style Desks and Secretaries became big sellers.
Maple, a less expensive wood was first offered in 1931, and by 1933 Kling was selling “solid maple” bedroom furniture in a colonial style, and by the late 1930’s several distinct and successful solid maple lines were offered.
Below are some more examples of pre-WWII Kling Furniture. In the late 1930's Kling Factories was expanding to offer many styles including Modern and Federal Reproductions--the latter seen on the right below. But the heart of their product line were Colonial styles such as the solid mahogany below left. This mahogany dresser represents the beginning of a long product line of similar style mahogany furniture that extended as far as 1960. Therefore, it is easy to make mistakes in determining the age of Kling Furniture. Back stamp numbers provide the most accurate furniture dating.
During World War II, the majority of Kling Factories capacity was under contract to the U.S. government to produce gunstocks, barracks lockers, and an oak bedroom furniture in a utilitarian style. Markings and records of war-time production are very inconsistent.
Find the most collectible and valuable Kling Furniture--Kling Finder e publications.
By 1947, Kling Factories was again producing well defined lines of solid maple and mahogany bedroom sets. The first solid cherry set was introduced in 1949, and cherry would become more popular throughout the 1950’s. The variety of styles and suites was great, but were confined to solid cherry, solid maple and solid mahogany. Colonial styles were perennially popular but many other suites were offered, from Queen Anne to modern.
Shortly after the Kling family sold Kling Factories in 1962, the use of a burned in “Kling Colonial” marker was adopted and for many years that was the marketing brand: Kling Colonial. Many of the best selling colonial style suites continued virtually unchanged through the transition and into the 1970’s Ethan Allen Company era. Dining room furniture and occasional tables were widely produced under the Kling Colonial name. Klinginfo.com has many “Kling Colonial” catalogs to help document furniture.