Caleb Allen, 1773–1844


cabinetmaker, chairmaker


Providence, Rhode Island


In 1797, Caleb Allen published an advertisement stating that he,

BEGS Leave to inform the Public, that he carries on his Business in the Building of Messrs. Grinnell and Taylor, opposite the Bank Lane-where he makes HOUSE FURNITURE of all Kinds, in the neatest and best Manner, and at the most reduced Prices. Those who may please to employ him, may rely on having their Work well executed, and at a short Notice. N.B. He also makes in a very neat Manner BLINDS for Carriages, and VENETIAN BLINDS for Houses (1).

In 1805, he sold his house on Constitution Hill in Providence. When advertising this house for sale, he described it as having a, "large and commodious Shop in front 27 by 14 feet and is well calculated for a Mechanic's Shop or a Grocery Store."(2) This was possibly his cabinet and chairmaking shop.

According to early Providence city directories, Allen maintained a cabinetmaking shop on North Main Street from 1826-1838.(3) During that period, it was recorded that "lady's cabinet" from Caleb Allen of Providence would cost five dollars.(4)

Little is known about Caleb Allen's personal life or family history. In 1844, a Providence man named Caleb Allen died in Cincinnati, Ohio, at the age of 71 years.(5) If this is the cabinetmaker, his year of birth would be 1772 or 1773. However, it is unclear as to whether or not this is the same Caleb Allen.

Benjamin W. Colman

1. Providence Gazette and Country Journal, "Caleb Allen, Cabinet and Chairmaker," July 15, 1797,

2. Providence Phoenix, "For Sale," June 8, 1805. July 15, 1797,

3. Wendell D. Garrett, "Providence Cabinetmakers, Chairmakers, Upholsterers, and Allied Craftsmen, 1756-1838," Antiques 90:4 (October 1966): 514.

4. Rhode Island American, Statesman and Providence Gazette, "Shop Manufactures," October 1, 1830,

5. Alphabetical Index of the Births, Marriages and Deaths Recorded in Providence, Rhode Island.