Dating antique beds
The steel pieces are not visible, anyway, so it isn't important that they are not brass.I recently obtained two sets of head and foot boards (in incredible condition) from a family member that date back to the mid to late 1800's.
Forged bed wrenches were the first type of wrench used in America.Below we have some great guidelines, but the REAL answer has to be found from a qualified appraiser.Most of the information below was garnered from the Antiques Roadshow Primer, but it is not complete.(You can judge this by noting the veneer edges on the backs of chest tops, for instance, or wherever bits of veneer have broken away.) Modern veneers are thin, with every slice exactly the same width.Antique Period table pedestals are often reinforced with a hand-hammered metal disk or a tri-part metal strap where the legs join.The three way wrench in the center has "Israel Sack" molded into it and was likely made in the 1930's. Two important "tools" utilized by early American firemen were the bed key and salvage bags.
With firefighting apparatus able to supply only a small stream of water, a fire that began to gain any headway was soon out of control.
Each would fit multiple size bolt heads and cap screw type bolts.
References: Portsmouth, NH Fire Deptartment, 1761, March 17, The United Fire Society instituted.
Other household goods of any value were snatched up, placed in salvage bags and carried to safety.
York County, VA Department of Fire and Life Safety Shown here are a forged wrench and a cast iron wrench.
To determine if a piece of mirror is old, hold the tip of a key to the glass.