History timeline

World History

Stone Age

9300 bc - 3300 bc

Bronze Age

3300 BCE - 600 BCE

A period in human history when people mixed copper and
tin to create a new metal strong enough to make tools and
weapons to replace the traditional polished stone tools of
the Neolithic Age.

Iron Age

1200 bc - 500 bc

A period in human history that varies from region to region as
people discovered the greater strength and durability of iron
tools and weapons.


500 bc - 500

A period in human history from the beginning of recorded
history in the old world to the start of the Middle Ages.

Dark Ages

400 - 900

A period in human history of cultural and economic deterioration.
(ie: In European History when Germanic Tribes invaded the Western
Roman Empire causing the decline of classical knowledge, downfall
of cities, disruption of trade and the Fall of the Roman Empire.)

Middle Ages - Midevil Period

500 - 1400

A period in European history between the Fall of Rome and the Renaissance dominated by the influences of the Catholic Church, Growing Feudalistic Nation-States, and Gothic art & architecture.

Viking Age

800 - 1100

A period in European history when Scandinavian Vikings
explored the regions from Northern and Central Europe to the
Mediterranean Sea and British Islands and settled in the areas of
Brittany, Normandy, and the land of the Rus (Russia).

Feual Period in Europe

1100 - 1300

A period in European history during the Middle
Ages when the economic and political systems were
dominated by the reciprocal ideals of land, labor
and service between the Noble Aristocracy and their


1300 - 1600

A period in European history during which renewed interests in
classical culture led to far-reaching changes in arts, learning, and
worldly views.

Age of Discovery

1418 - 1778

A period in world history when Europeans engaged in extensive exploration, improvements in navigation, and
direct contacts with people in Africa, Asia, the Americas,
and Oceania, resulting in the establishment of colonial
settlements and alternate trade routes around the globe.

Early Modern Age

1500 - 1800

A period in European history during which renewed interests in
classical culture led to far-reaching changes in arts, learning, and
worldly views.


Mayan civilization

1324 - 1545


Slave trading begins


Start of European slave trading in Africa. The Portuguese captains Antão Gonçalves and Nuno Tristão capture 12 Africans in Cabo Branco (modern Mauritania) and take them to Portugal as slaves.

Springfield Rifle developed

1850 - 1865

First gun with self contained ammunition shell - previously each round was loaded into the gun one at a time

Furniture History

Tudor style


This coincides with the rule of the Tudor dynasty in England whose first monarch was Henry VII. The term is often used more broadly to include Elizabeth I reign (1558 – 1603)
Characteristic of this style is the enrichment of every surface with flamboyant carved, turned, inlaid, and painted decoration in the spirit of the English Renaissance.
The Tudor period was one of beautiful woodwork, though it was still heavy and sparse by modern standards. Sideboards became fashionable as a way to display plate. The feather bed made an appearance, replacing the straw mattress.
Elaborate four poster beds were the mode.
Tudor furniture was made of oak or wood which was obtained locally, highly ornate, carved and heavy.

Elizabeth I

1558 - 1603

Characteristic of this style is the enrichment of every surface with flamboyant carved, turned, inlaid, and painted decoration in the spirit of the English Renaissance.


1600 - 1690

An English style of furniture, which is medieval in appearance with straight lines, rigid designs, sturdy construction, ornate carvings and a dark finish. Much of the early American furniture was patterned after this style.

French Provincial

1610 - 1792


1630 - 1685

Carolean (from the Latin Carolus, Charles) style or Restoration style
1630 - 1685

refers to the decorative arts popular in England from the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 to the late 1680s after Charles II (reigned 1660 – 1685) New types of English furniture introduced in this period include cabinets on stands, armchairs, wing chairs, chests of drawers and day beds. These are evident in English furniture in the use of floral marquetry, instead of oak, twisted turned supports and legs, exotic veneers, cane seats and backs on chairs, velvet upholstery and ornate carved and gilded scrolling bases for cabinets.

Early american

1640 - 1700

Early American (1640-1700)
Rudimentary utilitarian furniture made from local woods. It was brought from or modeled after European furniture styles, particularly from England, France, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and Spain.

Louis XIV

1643 - 1715

William & Mary - England

1689 - 1702

Named after William and Mary of England (1689-1694). It has Dutch and Chinese influences and is characterized by trumpet turned legs terminating in a ball or Spanish foot, padded or caned chair seats, and Oriental lacquer-work. William and Mary has Dutch and Chinese influences. Huguenot refugees from France worked in the cabinetmakers’. It is characterized by trumpet turned legs terminating in a ball or Spanish foot, padded or caned chair seats, and Oriental lacquer-work. The chair backs were shaped slightly to fit, double-arched on cabinets and settees. and the back legs were splayed out at the bottom to prevent the chair from tipping backward. Some of the English furniture was made of oak, but the Colonial workmen were finding walnut, maple, pine, apple-wood, sycamore, and other native woods much easier to use. Marquetry became an important feature of decoration often the form of elaborate floral patterns, cockle shell and acanthus leaf, or the very popular seaweed. The banisterback chair, with and without arms, replaced the caneback chair. Some of the English furniture was painted and gilded. And there were many more settees, upholstered or with loose cushions.

William & Mary - America

1690 - 1730

American furniture of the early colonial period generally falls into two stylistic categories: the Seventeenth-Century style (1620–1690) and the Early Baroque, or William and Mary, style (1690–1730). The Seventeenth-Century style reflects the transmission into the New World of late medieval and Renaissance traditions by immigrant craftsmen. Furniture in this style is frequently made of straight oak members joined at right angles. It is sturdy and massive, with low, horizontal proportions. Since the outlines tend to be rigidly rectilinear, craftsmen imparted visual interest through abundant surface ornamentation in the form of low-relief carving, applied moldings and turnings, and paint (66.190.1; 10.125.168; 10.125.680; 50.20.3).

There were two branches of the furniture-making trade during the seventeenth century: joiners, who "joined" together straight wood that had been shaped with axes and saws and smoothed with planes; and turners, who shaped wood with chisels and gouges while it spun, or turned, on a lathe. The Museum owns impressive examples of both joined and turned Seventeenth-Century style seating furniture. Turned chairs were cheaper than joined ones because of the speed with which their component parts could be turned on a lathe and the simple round mortise-and-tenon joints that held them together (51.12.2). By contrast, joined chairs relied on more complicated rectangular mortise-and-tenon joints, which required more time to lay out, saw, and fit (1995.98).

Although hundreds of furniture makers worked in the English- and Dutch-speaking colonies of America in the seventeenth century, only a handful can be identified today. In New England, two of the best-documented are William Searle and Thomas Dennis, who trained in Devonshire, England, and settled in Ipswich, Massachusetts, during the 1660s. Once in America, Searle and Dennis continued to produce objects in the same manner they had in England. Their distinctive florid carving was indebted to Renaissance designs, which became a popular source of surface ornament for medieval forms such as the joined lift-top chest (10.125.685).

The right-angled, mortise-and-tenon construction of Seventeenth-Century style furniture is also evident in the architecture of the period. For instance, the Museum's 1680 Samuel Hart Room (36.127) consists of massive posts and beams connected by mortise-and-tenon joints secured with wood pins. Similar construction techniques were used in joined furniture: indeed, most seventeenth-century joiners were multiskilled craftsmen capable not only of constructing a house frame but also of furnishing it.

The 1660 restoration of Charles II, who had been in exile in France, brought to England a new design sensibility based on the court fashions of Louis XIV. Known as the early Baroque, this style combined Continental and Asian influences in furniture forms that were at once richer and more curvilinear, with more vertical proportions. Although elements of this new style first appeared in English court circles during the 1660s, it was not until the reign of William and Mary (1689–1702) that the style spread throughout England and its colonies.

Furniture in the Early Baroque, or William and Mary, style broke away from the solid, horizontal massing and rectilinear outlines of the preceding era. Chairs became more slender and vertically oriented, with tall backs and gracefully turned posts and legs (52.195.8), while case pieces were lifted off the floor and precariously supported on delicately turned legs (52.195.2a,b). The new height was made possible by a joinery technique known as dovetailing, in which the case sides and fronts are fastened with interlocking joints that resemble in shape the tail of a dove. Dovetailing allowed for the use of thinner boards, and lent itself to lighter, more vertically-oriented construction.

New specialized furniture forms, such as dining tables, high chests, desks, and easy chairs reflected a growing concern for comfort and luxury in the early eighteenth century (10.125.75; 10.125.133; 50.228.1). Thin sheets, or veneers, of highly figured wood were glued to case fronts and table tops to create vibrant patterns and contrasting colors, while boldly turned legs and back posts of chairs created dramatic interplays between thick and thin, straight and curved. Craftsmen trained in the techniques of dovetailing and veneering came to be known as cabinetmakers; the William and Mary–style forms they produced are often characterized by a sense of energy and movement brought about by their contrasting colors and textures, and the vigorous Baroque outlines of their turned parts.

In Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the lumber merchant John Wentworth filled his capacious home with a combination of English and locally made furniture in the fashionable William and Mary style (26.290). Wealthy colonials such as Wentworth were instrumental in bringing the new style to America; however, it never achieved widespread popularity in the colonies. Indeed, outside the major port cities, the influence of the William and Mary style was minimal.

The William and Mary style fell out of fashion in the 1720s. Its emphasis on opulent veneered surfaces and attenuated and precarious furniture forms did not reappear in America until the rise of Neoclassicism in the late eighteenth century. In the intervening years—that is, roughly 1730 to 1790—the solid massing, serpentine outlines, and naturalistic carving of the Queen Anne and Chippendale styles prevailed.

Queen Anne

1702 - 1714

Queen Anne (1665 - 1714) 1702 - 1714 was the last monarch of the House of Stuarts. The Queen Anne style is a refinement of the William and Mary style with lighter, graceful, more comfortable furniture.
The single most important decoration of Queen Anne furniture was the carved cockle or scallop shell. Cabinetmakers replaced the straight, turned furniturelegs with more graceful cabriole furniturelegs. The furnitureleg had an out-curved knee and an in curved ankle.
Walnut became the preferred wood along with cherry and maple. Imported mahogany began to be favoured. Regardless of the wood, a small amount of Queen Anne furniture was painted white.
The feet in which the furniturelegs of furniture terminate underwent alteration and improvement. Ultimately claw and ball feet make their reappearance, and makes an attractive finish to the heavier type of cabriole furnitureleg that evolved after the disuse of the stretcher. Scroll feet are generally associated with the earlier Queen Anne furniture, but there were also club feet, spade feet, the drake foot which was carved with three toes and a square moulded type of foot.
Card and the collapsible bridge table or gaming tables were another Queen Anne innovation.
Still popular are lacquer work, the rich oriental wares and china, the use of gesso design, and the Dutch marquetry cabinets, with their bombe sides and fronts and profuse decoration.


1714 - 1806

The Georgian Period is divided into three:

Early Georgian 1745-1780

Mid Georgian 1730-1750′s

Late Georgian 1750-1830

Furniture had previously had its origins in the court and worked its way down, but George I brought a dull and tarnished feeling to the court and only few developments took place in the households of the rich.

Separate designers distinguished themselves in the late Georgian Period, this is known as the “The Golden Age of Furniture”. The designers were:

Louis XV

1715 - 1774


1745 - 1780

This is a term used to describe furniture designed by Thomas Chippendale.

In 1754 he became known worldwide with his book publication “the Gentlemans’ and Cabinetmakers’ Director”.

The book was an advertising journal put out by a tradesman aimed at potential customers. Chippendale was a functional designer and never sacrificed strength for appearance.

Early Georgian

1745 - 1780


1760 - 1792

George Hepplewhite owned his own factory and made furniture for Robert Adam. He produced a book of designs “The Cabinetmaker and Upholsters Guide”.

He had a fondness for the curved line and introduced this into his design wherever possible. Hepplewhite moved away from the heavy carving of Chippendale and used more refined carving. His favourite timbers to work with were Mahogany and Satinwood. He lightened up the look of the timber without sacrificing the stability.

Best known for his chair back designs – shield back, hoped back, oval and heart shaped which were very popular.

Louis XVI

1774 - 1792


1820 - 1837

George IV was born in 1762. He acted as Prince Regent from 1811 to 1820. As king of Great Britain he died in 1830. The furniture style follows closely on from the neo-classical Georgian furniture style with a new interest in the heritage of Egyptian furniture.
Regency furniture style elements are: rosettes, masks, metal paw feet on legs of chairs and tables, loose-ring handles, some with lion masks.
Brass was used for decoration, rosewood and zebrawood veneers were used for a striking look. Mahogany was still the wood of choice for most furniture makers.


1837 - 1901

The Victorian age of the United Kingdom was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. The Victorian age coincided with the Belle Époque Europe and the Gilded Age of the United States.
The Victorian age furniture draws its influence from gothic forms with heavy proportions, dark finish, elaborate carving, and ornamentation. Victorian age furniture has a strong Rococo and Louis XV influence. Exaggerated curves, lush upholstery and decorative carvings are featured.
Samuel Pratt patented in 1828 the coiled spring for use in upholstery. To accommodate the springs in chairs, upholstery on seat had to be improved in quality and seats were made deeper. This meant that chair legs became shorter.
The early part of this period, machines beginning to replace hand labour in furniture production.
Iron also made its appearance in the early Victorian furniture style.
The factories had changed, the designers of Victorian age no longer had direct contact with the customer.
Mahogany and rosewood were the woods of choice with oak (usually stained dark) making something of a comeback from the depths of time.
Tables had often marble tops.



Middle East


Dynastic Age in China

1700 bc - 256 bc

A period in Chinese history between the Shang
and Zhou Dynasties during which the ideas of
the Mandate of Heaven gave Emperors & their
families the authority and justification to rule
over and expand the boundaries of China.