The history of chest of drawers is quite fascinating. The use of drawers in chests emerged in the late 17th century, coinciding with an increasing demand for luxury furniture and cabinet pieces1. These opulent cabinets later started filtering down to upper-class and some middle-class homes1. Chests of drawers were originally made for middle-class homes, as their smaller size and design made them suited to more modest spaces1. They were still expensive pieces to produce, as exotic veneers, imported woods, decorative work, and hardware were used to add individual style and flair1.
The chest of drawers has a long history as one of the stand-bys of a carpenter’s workshop. Traditionally, they are rectangular in overall shape and often have short legs at the bottom corners for placement on the floor2. Chests of drawers often come in 5-, 6-, and 7-drawer varieties, with either a single or a double top drawer2. They are commonly made of wood but can be made of other materials as well2. The inside of the drawers can be accessed by pulling them out from the front side2.
Different variations of antique chests include curved (bow-fronted) and serpentine-shaped chests of drawers, dressing chests, Dutch bombe chests, military chests, and chests fitted with secretaire drawers1.