Have you ever wondered what happens to old White House furniture? The same thing probably happens to other historical artifacts—vacuum them up, store them away, or just leave them? You might think that the answer is pretty simple: junk goes into a landfill or is reused. Not true! These days, a lot of people are hesitant to put away historic artifacts thinking they might be contaminated with negative memories. Well, that’s exactly what’s happening to all those old pieces of furniture in the White House attic. If you look carefully, most of these pieces aren’t actually that old. They were probably made during the Eisenhower Administration (1953–1961) and so they can be easily classified as “White House Furniture of the 50s and 60s.” Most of these pieces have seen better days and are highly worn. This makes them perfect for recycling into new furnishings for homes or offices as well as great objects for museums and historical societies. If you have an interest in history or have some extra time on your hands, this article is for you! Read on to learn about what happens to old White House furniture after the administration it belongs to leaves office.
What Happens To Old White House Furniture?
There is no definite answer, as the furniture in the White House is classic and has been around since the early 1800s. However, it is generally believed that most of the furniture in the White House was removed in the 1960s and 1970s in order to make way for new, more modern architecture.
What Is The History Of White House Furniture?
- The White House was built in 1792, the year before Washington became President.
- The first White House furniture was made out of wood and was very simple.
- In the 1800s, the furniture slowly changed to a more luxurious style and continued to grow until the 1970s when it reached its peak.
- During this time period, American Furniture Manufacturing Company produced most of the White House furniture, such as tables, chairs, and sofas. They were also responsible for other types of furniture in government buildings around Washington D.C., such as desks and cabinets!
- In 1971, wood from old White House furnishings was used to make a table for President Nixon’s second inauguration! The table was made out of wood from old chairs that were used during his first inauguration in 1969!
- Old White House furnishings have changed over time but are still very similar to what we see today!
- Most importantly: DON’T THROW AWAY OLD WHITE HOUSE FURNITURE!!! It is worth hundreds or thousands of dollars depending on condition and type! It can be sold at auction or donated to museums or historical societies for preservation purposes!
What Are The Features Of White House Furniture?
- The White House furniture is made out of mahogany and walnut.
- Mahogany wood is a hardwood that is used to make furniture and signs in Washington D.C. because it can withstand the harsh weather conditions there.
- Walnut trees are native to the Eastern United States and were used for making furniture before the invention of mahogany!
- The chairs in the White House often have a gold-colored seat, back, and arms! This color was chosen by President George Washington himself! He believed that it would give off a more royal feeling to his guests during state dinners!
- There are different types of chairs in the White House, such as “Chippendale” chairs which are named after their British originator Thomas Chippendale (1718-1779). These chairs have very ornate carvings on their legs and backs which serve as decoration but also add strength to them so they don’t break easily when being moved around or sat on!
- There are also “Queen Anne” style chairs which were named after Queen Anne (1665-1714) who was Queen of England from 1702-1714! These chairs were also made from mahogany but had curved legs with simple carvings on them instead of intricate ones like Chippendale’s! The most notable feature about these chairs is the fact that they were made for two instead of just one person; this allowed for more guests to sit comfortably without causing any discomfort
- The most common chairs in the White House are “Federal” style chairs which were named after the Federal period (1789-1801)! These chairs also had curved legs with simple carvings on them instead of intricate ones like Chippendale’s and Queen Anne’s! The most notable feature about these chairs is that they were made for two instead of one person; this allowed for more guests to sit comfortably without causing any discomfort!
- The “Prairie” chair was invented by President Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) and was originally called the “Rough Rider.” This chair took inspiration from Native American crafts by using a buffalo hide as its seat with a wooden frame around it! It was invented to allow for more guests to sit comfortably, again without causing any discomfort!
Where Does The White House Get Its Furniture?
- The White House is the home of the President and his family! Therefore, the furniture in the White House is what they choose to use!
- President George Washington (1732-1799) was the first to have a chair made for him when he moved into the White House! The chair he had made was very simple in comparison to the chairs that are used today! It was made of mahogany with simple carvings on it. However, this chair still served its purpose as it allowed President Washington to sit comfortably without causing any discomfort to himself or others!
- Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) had two chairs made during his presidency: one for himself and one for his wife Martha (1748-1803)! This was due to his dislike of sitting on a plain wooden chair; therefore, he had two chairs made specifically for him and his wife so that they would not have to sit on plain wooden chairs themselves! He also ordered a dining table and chairs for them too!
- Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) had a lot of furniture added during his presidency including new beds, desks, desks with drawers, cabinets, and even mirrors above them! This furniture allowed Lincoln’s family much more comfortable than they would have otherwise had in their old house which was just a little log cabin without any modern conveniences like running water or electricity!
- Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) also had a lot of furniture added during his presidency including a desk, chairs, tables, and even a piano! This was because Woodrow Wilson was an avid reader who spent most of his time reading books and it was important for him to have comfortable seating as well as drawers for his books!
- Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945) had so much furniture added during his presidency that he had to have the White House rebuilt in order to accommodate it all!
- John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) also had so much furniture added during his presidency that he had to have the White House rebuilt in order to accommodate it all!
- The Obama’s (1956-) also have so much furniture added during their presidency that they have not been able to fit all of their belongings in the White House yet due to its size! They are currently adding more pieces of furniture in order to make room for everything they need!
There is a lot of stigma around old, broken furniture. People think it has bad memories and is no longer collectible. In fact, many pieces have been sitting in attics and basements for decades and are in good condition. The trick is to purchase estate or Charity clearance pieces and check the authenticity tag. If it’s not an authentic piece, then pass on the furniture and get something newer and better. If it’s an estate sale or donation piece, then enjoy using it and donate it to a museum or historical society.
Q: I bought a piece of furniture from a garage sale or an antique store, but it looks like it’s been repainted. Is it authentic?
If you paid for the piece, then you should be able to tell if it’s original or not. You can use a black light to see if the paint is original or not. If you have doubts, then take the piece to a professional restorer who will be able to tell you if the piece is original and how much it would cost you to have it restored.
Q: My grandfather had an old table in his house that was passed down through generations, but now that I’m moving out I want it out of my house. What should I do with this table?
Check with your local historical society or museum if they would like this table and donate it to them so they can use it or display in their display rooms. You could also sell this table on eBay and make some money for yourself as well as help future generations of your family!