Handcrafted 18th Century American Furniture


Over the past two years, I have come to learn that creating a book is an ambitious undertaking. It demands discipline and dedication from the author, but more importantly it requires the input and expertise of others. The publication of Eldred Wheeler: A Collector’s Guide would not have been possible without the help of many individuals, and their contributions are greatly appreciated.

Numerous people contributed so generously of their time and talent that special recognition is warranted.

Several individuals supplied historical materials and photographs, which were critical for the creation of the book. Jesse Meyer has long been viewed as the unofficial historian of Eldred Wheeler, and thankfully saved most of the company’s early literature and catalogs. Jesse was kind enough to loan this historical material along with several photographs to support the project. He and his wife, Margaret, also reviewed the text for historical accuracy. Dave McCarthy, Eldred Wheeler’s former owner, enthusiastically embraced the project from the start and reviewed the text throughout its evolution as well as assembled historical production data, pictures, and archival records, which were critical to the book’s completion. Lastly, Tony Trase, Eldred Wheeler’s current owner, has also been very supportive of the book and not only reviewed the text but also provided access to the company’s current records along with supplying numerous photographs.

The following current and former employees of Eldred Wheeler helped reinforce the historical validity of my recollections through informal conversations and/or review of the text: Russ Borden, Peter Heyward, Rich Meyer, Betty Landry, Wally Eldridge, Johanne Morrison, and Gerry McCarthy.

The production of the book involved a group of very talented individuals.
Overall orchestration and management of the project was led by Kimberly Fanelli of Reposition, Inc. She was assisted by other members of the Reposition team including Michael Fanelli, who designed the book’s interior, Jonathan Champleovier, who oversaw the production of the Pictorial Guide and Production Record, and Jeff Fanelli, her husband and business partner.

Jeanne Aboud designed the jacket cover and provided oversight on overall book design. Sara Lennon assisted in final production and layout. Special thanks go out to David Livesey, who tirelessly monitored and managed the pre-production process.  Michael Lecky was an invaluable resource as editor, not only refining some of my more cumbersome text, but also offering suggestions to expand a topic or include additional material to further develop a point.

Photography is equally as important as text in bringing both the story and the pieces to life. The talents of primary photographer Eric Roth are showcased in the color photographs of the prototypes in Section 2 as well as the majority of color pictures in other sections of the book. Credit must also be given to Bruce Gibson, Dan Cutrona, Bruce Orcutt, Todd May and Steve Trubitt for their color photography of numerous room settings. The Pictorial Guide was constructed, with permission from Eldred Wheeler, from
archival photographs and scans of early catalogs.
Over the years, a large number of individuals have directly or indirectly contributed to the success of Eldred Wheeler.


Special appreciation is due antique dealer/collector Bob Zexter and his wife, Nancy. Bob was my mentor. He first recognized my passion for antique furniture and unselfishly taught me the subtleties of recognizing and authenticating 18th century American pieces. After we started Eldred Wheeler, he helped us source materials and craftsmen as well as lent us some of his antique pieces for reference and study. I will be forever indebted to Bob.

Many people served as unofficial advisors in a variety of areas. Several deserve special recognition, including Richard Bridges, Douglas Donahue, Grace Grossman, Chuck and Shirley Comeau, Sherwood Smith, Jeff Jenkins, Dave LeFort, Willis Henry, Bob Barrow, Duncan Donahue, and Dave Wescott.

By now, Eldred Wheeler’s current and past employees number in the hundreds. The furniture showcased in this book is the output of their collective efforts, and they deserve recognition for their many talents. Equally important was marketing and sales, and credit must be given to the many individuals who worked in our company stores, as well as the independent dealers who offered our product in their shops.

Of course, Eldred Wheeler’s many customers are what ultimately made everything possible, and it is to them that we owe our greatest gratitude.


Eldred Wheeler would not exist if Bill Wheeler and I had not gotten together. From the start, Eldred Wheeler was a joint effort—each of us contributing different but complementary skills. Our partnership withstood the test of time and as a result Eldred Wheeler grew and prospered. Bill’s wife, Lee, was also a major contributor to our success. Without her support and dedication, we could never have opened our first store in Osterville, which proved to be critical to Eldred Wheeler’s early development.


Finally, I wish to thank my family for their understanding, patience, and support during this lengthy process—my wife, Joanne, and daughters, Elizabeth and Susie.