China cabinets were made first by the best furniture craftsmen in both America and Europe. These early cabinets were, and still are, considered to be an important creation. In their day, they became so popular that they quickly spread to both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, but people still think that china cabinets were first created in China.
China cabinets are a fairly new antique. They were fashioned first in England during the time of William and Mary, around the end of the 17th and at the beginning of the 18th centuries. William and Mary brought the furniture concept with them from the Netherlands in order to display the fine china that was popular during the time. Furniture makers started their craft in Britain, with shops opening around Europe and in America, mostly in the Northeast.
Shops soon appeared in Philadelphia and New York, but furniture making was not exclusive to those large cities. Historians now believe that Virginia had a thriving china cabinet industry that rivaled the larger northern cities. Styles ranged from Chippendale, Queen Anne and the Vernacular styles. Some of the most popular china cabinet makers still exist today. E.A. Clore was one of the first furniture makers in the area and it is still in business today.
The influence of Europeans coming to America with their own styles cannot be underrated. German, British and French immigrants brought their own style and creative ideas to America. The addition of new creative ideas from Europe led to a wave of new china cabinet designs that sprang up in America around the early 1900s.
Today, manufacturers such as Howard Miller, Pulaski Furniture, and Basset Furniture have turned into top brands that are respected around the world. Most of these brands have their roots in Martinsville, Virginia, which was a hotbed for early furniture making. The love of china cabinets grew with the founding of Stanley Furniture when its owner became Governor of Virginia in 1954. The city of High Point, North Carolina is the American city which is most synonymous with china cabinets and American made furniture. The Howard Miller Company began by designing wall clocks and table clocks but began designing china cabinets and other furniture in 1989. Since then they have discontinued their clock manufacturing in favor of china cabinets.
The name may say "China" but we know that china cabinets have their origins through American and European craftsman.