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Knapp's Pin and Crescent Drawer Joint

This unique machined drawer joint started the industrial revolution for furniture and replaced hand cut dovetails. It dates the furniture to a specific period. 1880 – 1900

Also known as Pin & Cove, Pin & Scallop, Half Moon, or Knapp Joint, also variously changing word “pin” to “dowel”. All these woodworking joints are basically the same, while they can vary in size.

Their presence allows dating of the furniture chest to 1880 – 1900, usually of the Victorian, Renaissance Revival or Eastlake styles. In the dating sequence of furniture construction they generally followed hand-cut dovetails. They clearly pre-dated what is called “sliding French dovetails”.

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Hand made dovetailed drawers were very labor intensive and limited mass production of chests. The Knapp Joint is the first known mechanization for making drawers in the industrial revolution age.

The inventor was Charles B Knapp of Waterloo, Wisconsin with a patent dated 1867. There was by 1871 a Knapp Dovetailing Company of Northampton, Mass. The joint concept fell into lack of use by 1900.

We have separately read, but can’t now document, that the dating was about the same but that the concept of the joint was French and the window of use was only for 12 years. Who knows?

References include:
Pictures by The Wood Works Inc. Essay “Mr. Knapp’s Oddity” by Fred Taylor, the origin of which is not known. And The Knapp Joint by Arnold Silverman of the Colorado Period Furniture Makers Guild.

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