I purchased and sold so called ranch furniture long before it was in vogue. After I purchased my first Molesworth furniture, I realized I was looking at the Cadillac of western design. Soon following this, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center did a retrospect on Thomas Molesworth and published Interior West. All at once everyone from Wall Street to Hollywood wanted his furniture and the roomscapes he had created.
My friend Jim Covert, a rustic furniture maker from Cody, Wyoming, and I began pursuing Molesworth furniture with great diligence. We aggressively bought anything that we could and sold it as fast. I soon became the major source for this wonderful furniture.
I was surprised by the amount of furniture Molesworth had produced and even more so by the proliferation of the furniture throughout the country. I was on the road more than I was home, and more than once I brought a houseful of furniture to our shop only to sell it instantly. I took a lot of detective work and door knocking to seek out the furniture, as there were no records of sales other than the obvious commissions that still exist intact today.
Many of Molesworth’s great early commissions, such as the Plains Hotel, had been sold at public auction and the furniture dispersed. Sometimes it took me several years to locate furniture that had left its original home. My strategy was always to be there first and pay the most, and it worked. I have purchased and sold more than three thousand pieces of Molesworth furniture.
The late 1980s and 1990s was a time of the second western expansion, fifty or sixty years after the first one. The romance of the West and a vibrant economy allowed many to build their western retreat. This was very evident in the Jackson area. Large log lodges were again being built and Molesworth furniture was often the first choice of those who wanted an authentic vintage interior. There was a proliferation of knockoffs and reproductions, but fortunately I had a client base who would only settle for the real thing.
I followed Molesworth’s lead and supplied my clients with vintage Navajo textiles, Indian beadwork, and all the accoutrements needed to duplicate the interiors of earlier times.
I not only focused on Molesworth but sought out the furniture of his contemporaries, as I appreciated it as well. Yet no one else ever seemed to be able to pull it all together to create a comfortable, creative atmosphere that proved timeless. Molesworth was justifiably the driving force in western design during his career.