How to Identify a Duncan Phyfe Sofa

Duncan Phyfe was an immigrant from Scotland who settled with his father in the United States in 1784. Since moving into New York City, he first worked in Albany in a cabinetry school. At the beginning of the 1800s, Phyfe designed a mechanical factory for rich clients on the eastern seafront.

The Duncan Phyfe’s name today is almost indicative of strong craftsmanship and an elegant look. But how to identify a Duncan Phyfe in the present time?So, what has made the Phyfe furniture so popular, that has brought you here? Well, actually, he did not create a new type of furniture.

how to identify a duncan phyfe sofa

But he demonstrated great abilities to combine common and contemporary European styles into fine American furniture. Phyfe used a factory approach successfully to furnish so that his works could not be specifically sculpted or made exclusively by him. In its highest position, his workshop employed over a hundred skilled furniture makers.

You can still see some of the 1800s Duncan Phyfe furniture in the museum. But if you’re considering buying a reproduction, pay attention to the quality and style. Here are some tips for identifying a Duncan Phyfe sofa.

Common and Contemporary European Styles


To start with, take a close look at the sofa’s lines. The back of the sofa should have sleighs crossing it, curving around the seating area. A straight curve meets the arms and goes back into a graceful shape. You’ll notice a fluid motion to the design with empire styling.

Now, focus on the claw feet. Most of the Duncan Phyfe is made of high-quality mahogany embellished that is detailed with hand carving craftworks. In addition to that, it should have an aged look.

Next, inspect the studs and nail-heads. A perfect reproduction of Duncan Phyfe should have high-quality brass studs that have an antique appearance. The nail heads should be trimmed properly and secured solidly at the upholstery.

Check the Studs And Nail-head

Next, check the upholstery. The original one wasn’t overstuffed. Duncan Phyfe used strip design at that time. After that, they used material that has a combination of fabric and leather. If you have found leather in the upholstery, they will be little piecing.

There’s still one more thing to check – the dimensions! Duncan Phyfe comes in a variety of sizes and dimensions, but among them, the 34, 84.75, and 23.75 are considered to be good as average size.

Duncan Phyfe Comes in A Variety of Sizes


How to identify a Duncan Phyfe? Is it clear to you now? Hopefully, the above instructions are going to be way more helpful for finding a Duncan Phyfe sofa.

You may read also – How to Upholster Around Curves

Jennifer Branett
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