Belter, John Henry

Belter, (Johann Heinrich) John Henry

(1804–63) furniture maker; born in Germany. He was apprenticed to a cabinetmaker in Württemberg, and was trained to be a carver of rich ornamentation. He emigrated to New York City (1844), married, and opened a furniture shop. He designed highly popular Victorian rococo furniture, and patented his invention (1856) for laminating rosewood in thin panels, steaming the pieces in molds, and carving them with fruit and floral motifs. By 1858 he had opened a large factory in New York City. Several years after his death, when there was less demand for his elaborate designs, the factory closed (1867).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.