If you truly want to appreciate a piece of furniture, you have to look at every single detail. Why? Because when you look at the whole piece of furniture, you see the complete look. When you look at every detail, you can appreciate how much effort was put into creating it. One of the details that you can see in federalist-style furniture are finials.
Finials, otherwise known as hip-knobs, is an element that marks the top or end of an object. These decorative features can be found in both architecture and furniture. In architecture, finials are usually carved in stone and used to emphasize the top, end, or corner of a building. In furniture, they are used as a decorative ornament and are usually made out of wood, antique brass, antique bronze, copper and verdigris.
There are many ways to incorporate finials into federalist-style furniture, but they are most common on bed posts and curtain rods, along with lamps and light fixtures. This is because they are both beautiful and useful. For example, on curtain rods, they keep the curtain from slipping off of the rod.
That being said, finials make the biggest impression on antique reproduction lighting. This is because many lampshades or light fixtures need finials to affix the shade to the lamp or fixture. This allows the finial to hide the internal screw thread, meaning it’s useful and extremely decorative.
As mentioned, the small details on furniture, such as the finials on antique reproduction lighting, are what make federal-style furniture so beautiful. The next time you’re in the market for furniture, take the time to notice these details.