I saw this interesting cradle at an auction recently:

American Primitive Cherry Cradle


This lot has sold for $80.

Description: 19th century, two part form, dovetailed cradle with iron rod swing supports on a boot-jack foot base with metal handles.

Size: 32 x 40 x 15 in.

Condition: Later metal handles; surface scratches; small shrinkage cracks.


Through tenons on the stretchers, not that interesting.

What is more interesting it the method of suspension of the cradle body:


Suspended by a pair of hand-forged hooked metal discs.


Another view showing a metal bearing driven in to the stand.

What was confusing was the description of this being a “dovetailed cradle”. I believe that I am eminently qualified to find dovetails, yet I found none. Look at the cradle for yourself:


If there were dovetails, they would be here.

P1010873 - Version 2

There be nails and split wood but no dovetails. Unless they are really thin pins. Typical of all four corners.

I am truly disturbed by the apparent discrepancy between the written and the observed. I know that the people that write auction descriptions are highly trained experts that in many states are licensed or certified. Believe me. I am starting to believe that the fault is in me. The dovetails are there and I just can’t see them. I hope that’s the case. I would hate to see someone lose the job over this…