At first glance, Charles Limbert’s designs might look similar to other Arts and Crafts furniture, but his work has distinct details that make his pieces stand out from other designs of the genre. Jonathan Binzen breaks out what makes Limbert’s designs unique.
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In his article in Fine Woodworking issue 274, Willie Sandry describes building a bookcase that’s based on one produced by Charles Limbert in the first decade of the 20th Century. With central shelving behind glass doors and flanking open shelves that are decorated with cutouts, the piece combines utility and sturdy construction with a design flair typical of Limbert.
The Charles P. Limbert Company, which was based first in Grand Rapids and then in nearby Holland, Michigan, made some of the most striking factory-produced furniture of the American Arts and Crafts movement. Limbert ran a good-sized factory—with some 250 employees by 1912—and his furniture was designed with machine efficiency in mind.
Many early Limbert pieces were clearly influenced by Gustav Stickley’s Craftsman furniture. They employed massive structural members and relied on exposed joinery for decoration.
Around 1905 Limbert introduced his most distinctive and enduring furniture. The new work was…