Johann Heinrich Belter
(1804-1863)

John Henry Belter was born in 1804 and grew up in Hannover, Germany. He emigrated alone from Bremen, Germany to New York in 1833 at the age of 29 and became a citizen in 1839.

John married Louisa Springmeyer and had five children (John Henry, Augusta, Louise, Caroline, and Ferdinand).

Belter is widely recognized as the most famous cabinet maker of the Rococo Revival period. It is not believed that he produced any furniture of any other style. He often (though not always) employed lamination construction as well as newly developed techniques to mold and bend wood. Until the latter part of the 20th century, his name was so tightly associated with the laminated Rococo furniture that it was used generically to describe this style and construction.

Belter held several patents including ones for sawing, a laminated bed, laminated chair backs (six-layer), and for a bureau drawer. Some of the earlier chairs by Belter had applied crests.

Belter did not die a pauper as is commonly thought as he had left behind $24,193.90 plus property when he died in 1863.

Belter's business occupied several locations over the years:

  • 40 1/2 Chatham Street (1844-1846)
  • 372 Broadway (1846-1852)
  • 547 Broadway (1853)
  • 522 Broadway (1856)
  • 722 Broadway (1861-1865) and as Springmeyer Brothers until 1867

 

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Other References

Victorian Cabinetmakers