Dating furniture legs
The joints were less delicate at first -- fairly wide and blunt, cut crudely with rare exceptions.
But the style developed into a very thin, precise and fragile-looking joint.
In the late 1890s, scalloped dovetails were the rage, but the trend shifted back to the classic triangular shape after a few years.
Hand-cut dovetailing was the default until 1860 when uniform machine-cut joints were introduced.
Today, dovetail joints are machine made, and that fact is what helps to pinpoint the age of the chest of drawers from the attic.