Gnagey Blanket Chest at Somerset Historical Center

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

Among the most famous makers in the history of southwestern Pennsylvania furniture is Jacob Gnagey (1796-1883), a farmer and cabinetmaker who lived in Summit Township, Somerset County. In 1862,he made a blanket chest for Israel Folam, possibly as a wedding present on his marriage to Lydia Vought, township residents. With its distinctive hand-forged hinges, finely dovetailed joints, red milk-based paint, and signature stencil decoration, the chest is typical of pieces crafted by Gnagey. It descended in the Folam family until donated by a family member in 2006 to the Historical and Genealogical Society of Somerset County in memory of Barbara and Glen Handwork, society members. The society placed the chest on long term loan to the lomerset Historical Center, western Pennsylvania’s rural heritage museum administered by the PHMC, which it supports.