Early Furnishings: Tin, Terne and Tole

Surprise sophistications in early furnishings.

Accents to complement the house seen on previous pages are made from materials available at the time, such as soft, silvery tin and its close relative pewter, a tin alloy; terne, iron with a tin coating; or tole, tinplate decorated with colorful florals.

The Federal Metedeconk wall mount lantern.


Shown in terne, the elegant Federal Metedeconk wall mount lantern is based on a hexagonal original dating from between 1780 and 1830. Shown with two candelabra-based sockets, the lantern is 16″ high x 10 ” wide x 6″ deep. Authentic Designs, (800) 844-9416, authenticdesigns.com

The six-arm cone chandelier with hand-punched patterns and beeswax sleeve candelabras.


Handcrafted using proprietary finishes, the six-arm cone chandelier with hand-punched patterns and beeswax sleeve candelabras is shown in Old Tin. It comes in six metal finishes and 15 museum-quality paint colors. The chandelier measures 15″ high x 25″ wide. Classic Lighting Devices, (860) 267-8814, classiclightingdevices.net

“Tulip” by artist Barbara Bunsey.


Early Americans stored important papers in document boxes handcrafted of tin and painted with the brilliant florals of toleware. “Tulip” is artist Barbara Bunsey’s interpretation of a piece painted by well-known tole painters Sally or Maria Francis in the early 1800s. Calico Goose, (330) 467-7402, calicogoose.com

The John Townsend Tulip Pint Mug.


Jonathan Gibson is a second-generation pewterer who makes authentic vessels, lamps, and ornaments. The John Townsend Tulip Pint Mug is a reproduction of a period example from the artist’s collection. The mug is 4″ high and holds 16 ounces. Gibson Pewter,
(603) 495-1776, gibsonpewter.com

Sunburst with Chisel.


Punched-tin patterns in sunbursts and striking geometric forms originated during the early-19th-century American Radiance movement. Sunburst with Chisel is an authentic pattern for early pie safes. Pierced Tin Designs by Country Accents, (570) 478-4127, piercedtin.com

Tags: Decorative Accessories interior design OHJ December 2018

By Old House Journal

Founded in 1973, Old House Journal is the original authority when it comes to old-house restoration, traditional house styles, period kitchens, bath & kitchen restoration, DIY projects, gardens & landscaping, and more-- from Colonial and Victorian through Arts & Crafts and Mid-century Modern homes. 

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