[Ads-l] Davenport sofa, antedatings

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Sun Mar 20 15:00:30 UTC 2022

OED has Davenport noun 3 “…couch or sofa…” “North American” from 1897.
Some have associated these with A H Davenport, a Massachusetts company in late 19th century.
But earlier uses apparently are in British papers. Some may be in auction lists that merely lack a comma, since davenport noun 1 is also furniture (a writing desk). Whether the US and UK items look and function alike, I don’t know.
Newspapers.com includes:
Sept. 16, 1840 1/6 Morning Chronicle [London] “Davenport sofas”
26 July 1848 [error listing as 1843, but that Wed is 1848] Derby Mercury 2/1 “capital Davenport mahogany sofa”
British Newspaper Archive [unconfirmed OCR example]:
SALES BY AUCTION. Flower Roots.—By Mr. WILLIAMS, at the Auction Mart, Bartholomew lane, on Monday next, Dec. 30 ..<https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0002408/18331228/005/0001>
... our-post Bedstead, Spanish pillars, and rnorine furniture ; tent ditto and goose feather beds ana good bedding ; rosewood Davenport sofa, couches, and 12 drawingroJrn chairs ; a fine- toned pianoforte in a handsome mahogany case by Price and Co., with pedal; ...
Published: Saturday 28 December 1833
Newspaper: Morning Herald (London)<https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/search/results?newspaperTitle=Morning%20Herald%20(London)>
County: London, England

Stephen G.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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