Serpentine China Cabinet

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GRANDMA COLEY'S SERPENTINE CHINA CABINET

Today is October 23, 2004 and had today “reserved” as a workday for our annual upcoming Halloween party, however I decided to replace a missing curved glass from a 1890 – 1920 circa Quartered Oak Serpentine China Cabinet.  The china cabinet has special meaning to my bride and I since my Grandma left it to us in 1974 upon her death.  A few years later one of my bride’s nephews ran into the right hand curved glass shattering it and a piece of flexible clear plastic was installed as a temporary fix which lasted a decade or more.

Finally, after years, decades, etc. of missing the right hand curved glass and a gently nudging along from my bride, I contacted a supplier in Texas specializing in stock and custom made curved glass to specifications and ran the moths from my wallet and ordered the glass!  A special one-time mold had to be fabricated to bend the curved glass to specification and after anxiously waiting about two months the glass finally arrived.

The entire contents of the cabinet along with the shelving were removed and it was touch and go to get the curved glass installed. The glass originally was held in place by molding and secured by small wire nails but I elected to hot glue the molding back instead of hammering the nails on the expert advice of Robert Hough who owns Carolina Antiques and Restoration located at 4399 Main Street, Ellerbe, N.C.  28338  Telephone:  910-652-2098 who specializes in the restoration of antiques.  Over the years the cabinet has shifted out of parallel a bit since the curved side supports were steam bent instead of laminated and it was difficult to get the glass back into the tight fitting opening but I was successful.  I just hope there is not too much pressure on the fit!

Note:  Over 10 years have passed and the glass is still fine.  Updated 12-22-14. 

I am inserting a few pixs from start to finish on this project and while I was getting the glass in place my bride and our youngest daughter Lisa Dianne Netting were cleaning the silver, crystal, china and all the doodads from different parts of the World to have them presentable again.  I know my Grandma would be very proud to see the things that she had collected over the years looking so pretty again.  The top shelf in the cabinet was reserved for some of the crystal that I have given my bride “Tweet” along with some items that our daughters have given her and "spilled" onto the other shelves as well.


The right curved glass is installed which has the manufacturer’s ID on the glass.  My bride cleaned all the curved glass side panels and front serpentine curved door glass as well as the rear mirror. There were four flat shelving units that were cleaned also.

The flat glass-shelving units ready for a serious application of Windex!

This is some of the goodies that different ones gave Grandma over the years for her china cabinet.  The majority of the clear crystal was given to my bride by yours truly over the years.




Inserted are some pixs showing the hand carving….the carving is in relief and the back ground has a stippled finish all done with hand tools.




It should be noted that wood carving machines (pantographs) were available when this item was manufactured that did the rough routing (carving) which allowed such items to be mass produced and the fine details of the carving was finished by hand using carving tools.  This was at a time when labor was very cheap in comparison to today’s standards!  The particular carving shown above has a name but don’t ask me what it is.  I will research it if anyone is interested.  Note:  According to Chuck Erikson of Grass Valley, CA, "The carving is what's called "Acanthus Leaf" (in a "scrolled" motif), originating in classical Greece and used as a basis for fine carving ever since."

NOTE:  My Aunt Mollie Bowers stripped the finish off the china cabinet back in the middle to late 1950s of which the original finish had turned opaque, nearly black, cracked and crazed.  Most antique dealers do not recommend the refinish of antiques but this china cabinet looks 100 percent better than it did before the refinish.  I personally could care less about the dollar value but the sentimental value and looks of the china cabinet is what matters to me!

The side panels have matching pattern carving only on the top.  The only carving on the bottom are the two front feet.  I have seen some on the Internet with different carving patterns and in different locations but I guarantee you this one is ahead of most that are fore sale although not the most ornate.



Grandma's Serpentine China Cabinet looks as good as new again and it I know most of you didn’t know her unless you were family or friend but I am going to tell you a little about her in my Memories From The Past short story and share some pixs and wonderful memories from the past of her.

On August 16, 2015, I moved the above from my short story originally titled Memories From The Past but the past three months started updating the Coley and Trexler Genealogy and Folklore and decided to create a new page just for the above Serpentine China Cabinet glass replacement. 

Web published by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 08-16-15.

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