1. Check the back or bottom of furniture. If it is made of plywood, that means the furniture was made during or after the 1930s when plywood was invented.
2. Drawers and other parts were put together with mortise and tenon joints by the 1700s.
3. From 1871 to 1900, new furniture was made with the machine-made half-circle joint, also called the Knapp joint.
4. Look at the hardware and the screws. The screws should be handmade in 18th century furniture. The heads are not perfect circles. Round wire nails were used after 1900. Phillips screws were invented in the late 1930s by Mr. Phillips.
5. Look for signs of wear in expected places—the edge of a table, or the spot that might be kicked at the bottom of a cupboard.
6. Look for any painting to cover bare wood (new wood looks new). Thin veneer is recent. Early veneer is thicker.
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