Antiquarian Names: Colonial craftsmen names

For a number of years, when I wasn’t writing about names, I was writing about antiques and collectibles for a syndicated newspaper column.  But of course when I was thinking about antiques, I was still also thinking about names.

Looking at the field of antique furniture, for example, I found that when it came to early British cabinetmakers, the names were relatively unexciting.  George Hepplewhite. Robert Adams. Thomas Chippendale. Thomas Sheraton.  Nothing too juicy there.

But with the Early American cabinetmakers and clockmakers it was quite a different story.  Lots of antiquated Biblical names, more than one Chauncey, Ebenezer and Lemuel, a few virtue names rarely heard in modern times (Prudent, Noble), a couple of Latinate names and a Greek god—in other words a variegated picture of American Colonial and Federal era nomenclature:

Some prime examples:

Any of these appeal?

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13 Responses to “Antiquarian Names: Colonial craftsmen names”

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Lola Says:

September 17th, 2010 at 7:50 am

I like a lot of these, but absolutely love: Simon, Ansel, Asa, Miles & Gawen. Hercules thrills me, how awesome!
Noble’s a family name for me (along with Royal) and I’ve toyed with using both of those in the past. For now they’re on my “use for the Grandkids” list. (And with one married, anything’s game)!

Persephone Says:

September 17th, 2010 at 8:28 am

I love Ansel. *sigh* it’s such a shame it’s a brand of condoms here in Australia. Poor little fella would never live it down 🙁 Says:

September 17th, 2010 at 8:37 am

All of these are awesome. My favorites: •Abel Cottey


pippa Says:

September 17th, 2010 at 9:56 am

So tickled to see Chauncey on here–it’s my husband’s name!

Em Says:

September 17th, 2010 at 11:14 am

I really like Gerrard, Gideon, Phineas, and Silas. I couldn’t help but giggle at Macock. Can you imagine a modern day boy named Macock? He’d never live that down.

Salome Says:

September 17th, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Phineas Pratt makes my heart flutter just a little bit.

I’m loving:


Even Chauncey is charming!

audrey Says:

September 17th, 2010 at 2:53 pm

I have an Eli, and would LOVE him to have a brother named Asa… one of my favorites!

Macy Says:

September 17th, 2010 at 6:08 pm

I absolutely love the name Elisha!

jacjac Says:

September 18th, 2010 at 3:49 pm

I love Lemuel!

Ashley Says:

September 19th, 2010 at 1:05 am

I think Duncan is fabulous.

Charlotte Vera Says:

September 19th, 2010 at 11:23 pm

Everadus? Delicious!

ycw Says:

September 22nd, 2010 at 3:34 pm

I love biblical names… Ebenezer, Elisha, and Simon are special to me.
On my short list:
Asa, Nehemiah, Silas

Have been on short list in past:
Eli/Elijah, Ephraim, Gideon, Seth, Phineas (as Phinehas)

Also like:
Abel, Elias, Elnathan, Enos, Job, Lemuel, Ward, Matthias, Thomas, Solomon

Foodie Says:

November 14th, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Prudent Mallard has to be the greatest name I’ve ever heard, next to Slovenly Drake.

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