Buffington Furniture at State Museum of Pennsylvania

Sharing the Common Wealth showcases objects, artifacts, documents, structures and buildings from the collections of PHMC.

Philadelphian Isaac Buffington appears in a city directory as early as 1830, his occupation noted as cabinetmaker, but 1860 census records list him living in East Whiteland Township, Chester County, as a gentleman, presumably a euphemism for retiree. Although he may have retired from his trade, he did not abandon his craft. Buffington turned out in native birds-eye maple a sleigh bed, a washstand with mirror, and a distinctive chest of drawers fitted with a white marble top, a tier of five drawers, and a mirror set in an elegantly reticulated frame. An inscription on the chest of drawers confirms the master’s handiwork: East Whiteland Two Chester Co Pa. /Made in 1863 by/Isaac Buffington for his /Daughter Sarah / In her seventeenth year of Age. The furniture – outstanding examples of mid-nineteenth-century design-remained in the family until late 2004, when Priscilla B. Florinda, of Randolph, New Jersey, donated all three pieces to The State Museum of Pennsylvania, where they will be preserved for future generations to examine and enjoy.