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The Definitive Blog for Fine Furniture & Design

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Reverse Engineering

  
  
  
2808 31 lrRGB resized 600Spring is coming on in earnest and there’s a phenomenon taking place all across the country as antique lovers shake off the winter doldrums and prepare to hunt and gather at a long list of outdoor antique fairs from coast to coast. Brimfield Antique Show, one of the largest in the northeast, opens this week and we can feel the energy as the design community prepares to invade the bucolic countryside for a feast of patinas and panache!

We have a few antiques lovers amongst our crew here at Thos. Moser, chief among them Tom and Mary Moser. Given their passion for and knowledge of certain types of antiques, we’re always curious to see what Tom would snap up were he combing the alleyways of some of these overflowing outposts!

A penchant for time-honored designs began for our founder when he was attending graduate school at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He would buy broken antiques and refurbish them for resale as an avenue of income to support him and his young wife Mary. “At one point, I had 27 busted-up grandfather clocks in baskets!” he says, shaking his head. “I would work on them all through grad school, selling them off when we needed money!” 

Tom and Mary also owned an antique shop in Cortland, New York, when they moved their young family there, continuing their hunt for and satisfying their fascination with historical designs. In case you think it’s all about aesthetics, Tom believes there are deeper reasons to interact with furniture fashioned by accomplished hands: “I guess you might say I learned how to make things by reverse engineering—by taking things apart and putting them back together, which means I learned my craft from the people who made these things originally.” 

As the fields green and the trees sprout their leaves, we at Thos. Moser salute these skilled craftsmen and -women who took their tools to wood, stone and other materials in order to express their nature in their designs. Let’s go antiquing! 

Comments

I recognized that photo from the back cover of my copy of "How To Build Shaker Furniture" by one Thos. Moser. I only recently realized that the illustrations in that book were by Christian Becksvoort. My copy of the book was published in 1977, so Mr. Becksvoort and Mr. Moser go back a ways.
Posted @ Thursday, May 12, 2011 8:46 PM by Jeff
I, too, recognized that photo as one from which I stole the idea for a Shaker clock I built. 
The strong, tall, simple lines of the clock caught my imagination and love for the Moser Style.
Posted @ Saturday, May 14, 2011 5:50 PM by John Hilker
Hi Jeff, you do indeed have one of the earlier copies of How to Build Shaker Furniture‚ĶChris Becksvoort worked for Tom in the early days and did in fact, do all of the illustrations for the original book. We thought you might like to know that Tom is currently working on an updated version of the same book to be published later this year! 
 
Thanks, John! It's nice to share a love of strength of design and simple lines with others!
Posted @ Monday, May 16, 2011 12:52 PM by Saxon Henry
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