Ernst F. Gehlmann, Springfield, Illinois
Renaissance Revival Style Secretary, circa 1865
walnut, 118 by 76 by 26.5 inches
Made for Wellington B. Huffaker in New Berlin, Illinois
Gift of the James C. Huffaker family, Carson City, Nevada (745072)
Ernest Gehlmann made this secretary very large to fit into a grand new house he had built for the Wellington Huffaker family. Because the secretary is almost ten feet tall, we can guess that the rooms probably had twelve-foot ceilings.
secretary is made of walnut wood from the Huffaker farm. Walnut was a
wood often used for furniture in nineteenth-century Illinois. Furniture
makers liked walnut because of its warm color, smooth grain, and attractive
grain, which could be used for veneer
or focal points, such as panels. Furniture makers often used walnut in
early Renaissance Revival style furniture.