Dating wood furniture
The suspension idea ranges from the simple runner in the case to support the drawer sides, to a slot cut in the side of the drawer to engage a runner (the Pilgrim “hung” drawer), to a guide added to the center bottom of the drawer to engage a runner, to the nylon roller and ballbearing suspensions found in modern manufactured furniture.But since suspensions are not always reliable and since wood expands and contracts due to weather and time a more significant consideration is “How is the drawer held together?From the mid 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century a series of experimental, machine made drawer joints appeared, including the Knapp joint and the finger joint but the winner was the machine made dovetail joint.
The joint is then nailed either through the front or through the side.
Of course single drawers and combinations of drawers were made earlier but appeared usually as an adjunct to the lift top or dower chest which was the most common chest type in the that century.
The most common storage facility of the era was the cupboard or court cupboard consisting of open shelves below doors which concealed more shelves.
The notion of a self contained drawer unit is “new news” from late in the century.
A drawer is a fairly difficult thing to build when you get right down to it.
In many cases the nails are installed in cut outs in the drawer side so they do not protrude above the surface and impede the travel of the drawer.