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They're often done in antique styles so they look very similar to genuine antiques.
Also, furniture casters frequently get replaced so a period antique chair might have a newer caster on it.
One of the mysteries of the universe to me is “Why do so many 20th century pieces of furniture have wheels or casters on them?
” A clue of sorts can be found in the generic name of many early 20th century items, those that are known as “Colonial Revival.” These pieces are modern replays of generally 18th century North American furniture originals, which in their own right often owe their existence to earlier European styles, but that’s another story.
The wheels themselves are generally easily removable either by just pulling them out of their sleeves or by using a screwdriver to pry them out.
If that fails, use an electric drill with a 3/8-inch bit to slowly start the sleeve moving and it should come out. After the sleeve is out glue a 3/8-inch dowel in the hole, trim it flush with the leg and install a nylon tip in the end of the dowel. Now the temptation to “grocery cart” a nice piece of furniture has been removed and it will be much happier in the long run. His book “How To Be a Furniture Detective” is available for .95 plus S&H.
Two excellent books on furniture of the 20th century are “Colonial Revival Furniture,” Linquist/Warren, Wallace-Homestead, 1993 and “Furniture of the Depression Era,” Swedberg, Collector Books, 1987. Also available is Fred and Gail Taylor’s DVD, “Identification of Older & Antique Furniture,” ( S&H) and a bound compilation of the first 60 columns of “Common Sense Antiques by Fred Taylor” ( S&H).
The sleeve should break loose inside and start to spin.
As it spins retract the screwdriver and the sleeve will come with it.