Q:I have had a wooden table for more than 30 years and was about to give it to my daughter when she turned it over and found a mark. The marks says, "Sept. 29, 1896, 568397, Conrey - Birely Table Co." Is my table older than I thought?
A:Your chair is more than 100 years old. The patent was granted to Charles Birely for a method of attaching legs to furniture. Birely lived in Shelbyville, Ind., at the time he applied for the patent and had already been in the furniture business with Jacob A. Conrey for 10 years. The Conrey-Birely Table Co. had manufacturing facilities in Shelbyville and in Grand Rapids, Mich., until about 1909.