Q : I own a Victorian gentleman’s dresser that’s about 70 inches high and 42 inches wide. It has a tall dressing mirror on one side and a smaller shaving mirror on the other side. The dressing mirror pulls out about 9 inches on an extension mount and rotates about 70 degrees in either direction. “Peerless Adjustable Mirror” is stenciled on the back, where there’s also a label with six 1890 patent numbers. One of the brackets is embossed “Pat’d Jan. 14, 1890.” Can you give me any information about this piece?
A : A dresser like yours was pictured in an ad in an 1891 newspaper. It didn’t have the shaving mirror and was advertised as a “lady’s dresser.” The ad claimed that the Peerless Adjustable Mirror was the only adjustable mirror made and could be adjusted to 16 different positions. A Jan. 14, 1890, patent was one of several patents granted for adjustable mirror supports in 1890. It was granted to David Heald and Charles H. French for “new and useful improvements in mirror supporting and adjusting devices.” The tall dresser with the unusual mirrors has very little storage space. The 21st-century buyer wants drawers. Because of its limited usefulness, your dresser is not worth more than $400.