Identify an Ethan Allen piece of furniture -- vintage or modern -- by turning to a variety of credible resources to substantiate your claim. Whether you look to printed materials, furniture experts, professional appraisers or digital media sources, research will authenticate a piece as truly Ethan Allen. You can also examine the furniture yourself to discover valuable clues as to its origin.
It's All in the Name
Carefully inspect your piece of furniture for identifying stamps, tags or labels. The name "Baumritter Corp." stamped on the underside or back of your piece indicates it is an early Ethan Allen piece. The Baumritter Corp. was started around 1930 by two brothers and continued under that name until 1973 when the company name was officially changed to Ethan Allen. Many of the early Baumritter pieces were fashioned in an Early American Colonial style and were named after Ethan Allen, whose Green Mountain Boys fought to make Vermont the nation's 14th state. An upholstered piece typically has a tag sewn in a non-conspicuous spot to reveal the manufacturer's name.
Browse through old Ethan Allen furniture books and catalogs to match your vintage piece with an image to discover its origin or to learn more about it. Look for these old catalogs and books at online websites where individuals sell their vintage items to a national or international audience. For newer furniture, you can check online at the current Ethan Allen website to look through modern furniture styles or click on the specific room and individual product for which you are searching. For example, if you have a recliner that appears relatively new, check the tab labeled "Living Room" on the Ethan Allen website; then under the specific item you're searching for -- recliners -- and browse through the available products to find your chair.
Take a Hike
Visit your local Ethan Allen store to discover whether your piece is authentic. Talk with a knowledgeable furniture associate to see if she is familiar with your piece of furniture. If the furniture isn't too large, such as a small accent table, take it with you to allow her to see the entire piece. For large furniture -- chests, dressers, beds, armoires -- snap a photograph of the piece and take it with you to the store. You can also carry a single drawer or upholstered cushion with you. Check with an accredited appraiser, second-hand furniture dealer or another person with vintage furniture expertise if an Ethan Allen associate is unable to help you.
Before purchasing a piece of second-hand furniture from a garage or estate sale, ask the seller about the history of the item, especially if he is the original owner. If the furniture has had only one owner, he can typically tell you, not only if it is an authentic Ethan Allen piece, but also from which store he purchased it and any related warranty information. You can also ask the owner of a used furniture store or used furniture vendor at a flea market to help you determine if Ethan Allen is the manufacturer of a specific item you're interested in purchasing.