Charak Furniture Company
Boston’s Charak Furniture Co. was a leading manufacturer of reproduction Colonial furniture during the 19th century.
Kaplan Furniture was formed at the beginning of the 20th century (around 1904/1905). In 1915 Joseph Charak joined the firm and it was renamed Kaplan-Charak. That partnership ended in 1919. Charak went on to become one of the finest makers of hand-made and bench-made Colonial Revival furniture in America.
Boston’s Charak Furniture Co. was a leading manufacturer of reproduction Colonial furniture during the 19th century. Designs were not purist. The company favoured an eclectic approach, amalgamating several features often culled from different periods in one piece. Having survived the Great Depression, Charak found commercial success during the 1920s.
During the 1950s, American designer Donald Deskey was hired by the company in order to create a line of colourful, plastic-laminated furniture.
In William E Duff's A Time for Spies, Duff posits that Charak's founder, Walter Charak, was involved in Soviet collaboration during the 1930s.
Most Charak pieces are numbered and dated.
Charak used fine materials and good quality wood.
Many items of furniture were hand made and will be marked, for example: "THIS PIECE WS HAND MADE IN THE WORKSHOP OF CHARAK FURNITURE CO BOLTON.MAFS. IT IS NUMBERED 51, MADE YEAR 1938 [sic]"
Any damage should be reflected in the price.
Some Charak pieces boast secret drawers and concealed compartments that are very popular among collectors. Only a handful of known pieces have more than one of these secret compartments, which were places inside and underneath standard drawers, as well as in the base where the skirt is actually a thin drawer. In the desk section, press on any square or rectangular facings which could hide a tiny drawer behind it to locate secret drawers.
Charak produced several grades of furniture. Finer examples carry more substantial price tags as fewer were made, and those that were, were made to a higher quality.
A high quality custom made mahogany Federal buffet with inlays, by Charak Furniture Co. of Boston Mass. numbered 5601 dated 1930 brought $500 to Cedarburg Auction & Estate Sales LLC in November 2012.
Charak Furniture Georgian-style glazed mahogany breakfront, Boston, 1942, paper label, no. 2749 brought $350 to Skinner in September 2012.
An Edwardian-style mahogany chairside table; the leather-inset rectangular top with a back raised storage well, above a frieze fitted with a single drawer, raised on square tapering legs ending in spade feet the whole with inlaid stringing accents, the drawer bearing the label: "This piece was hand made in the workshop of Charak Furniture Co., Boston, Mass, numbered 413, sold for $90 at
Crescent City Auction Gallery in March 2012.
Charak block front desk, mahogany, fold down writing surface w/interior storage, 2 orig keys, sold for $375 at Rich Penn Auctions in November 2011.