Context

The twentieth century, sometimes called the machine age, has seen such a great variety of designs of furniture that generalizations are meaningless. Advances in materials use and production techniques led to major changes in the production of furniture. Designers with a knowledge of materials and techniques that were developed to meet the new demands were employed to design furniture for large-scale production. The division between production furniture and designers' limited editions grew as...

Byzantium and the Romanesque period

The collapse of the Roman Empire in the fifth century AD moved the centre of culture to Byzantium. The Byzantine aesthetic was based on an amalgam of a new Christian tradition, mixed with Hellenistic taste and an oriental interest in rigid abstract ornamentation. In addition to this stylistic mix was the continuity of the cabinet-making tradition which resulted in the survival of the skilled craft. Chairs and thrones remained important and were now based on a box shape with a back. X-framed...

Historical development

George Blumenthal Furniture

The sling seat is one of the simpler types and has been known since the beginning of upholstery in ancient times. It consists of a single layer of sturdy material such as leather stretched across and attached to a (usually wooden) framework by means of tacks or dome headed nails. This type of seat was used on folding chairs and stools and was usually provided with cushions for added comfort. Some sling style seats were quilted, an early form of layered upholstery. The seat and back of a late...

Critical success factors for joints

Whatever the type of joint under consideration, there are four crucial factors that determine success. These are, the nature of the stresses imposed on it and that it is designed to withstand, the grain direction of the joined parts, wood movement in response to moisture and the surface quality of the mating parts. Although it is not usually important to be able to calculate loads precisely, it is essential to understand the types and relative sizes of loads that joints are able to support for...

Surface decoration and finish

The demand for novelty, and the reproduction of expensive processes by imitation, were the two main driving forces behind developments in surface decoration and finish. Many old techniques were revived, along with a range of new patented processes, some of which became established while others were unsuccessful. The most well-known revival and its mechanized equivalent is carving. During the early years of the century the carving trade was in a poor state. With the revival of historical styles...

Design and construction

The eighteenth century has been divided into a variety of eras for different purposes. The most suitable for furniture studies is either the stylistic distinction between Baroque, Rococo and the Neo-Classic, or the dynastic division between early Georgian, mid-Georgian and late Georgian or Regency. Throughout these divisions other stylistic influences occur either disparately or in conjunction. The Chinese taste from the middle of the century to the end is evidence of an Oriental passion a...

Renaissance to Industrial Revolution

Beard, G. (1986) Craftsmen and Interior Decoration in England 1660-1820, Bloomsbury Books Burr, G. (1964) Hispanic Furniture from the Fifteenth through the Eighteenth Century, Archive Press Chinnery, V. (1979) Oak Furniture The British Tradition, Antique Collectors Club Chippendale, T. (1966) A Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Director, Facsimile of the 1762 edition, Dover Press Comstock, H. (1968) The Looking Glass in America, 1700-1825, Viking Press Cooke, E.S. (1996) Making Furniture in...

Tools and techniques of conversion and construction

During the eighteenth century there were few developments in methods of construction or of the use of new tools. There were, however, some efforts made that were to assist developments in the long term. These early attempts included the 1761 Society of Art's Prize to Stansfield, for his sawmill design, and in 1793, Bentham's comprehensive patent for woodworking machinery. Developments such as lathe-turned screws which were being produced with slotted heads to fix handles, and Maudsley's...

Functional types

Between 1600 and 1640 the demand for fashionable furnishings and the desire to keep up with the court encouraged the growth of the trade, as furniture became more common and began to be regarded as a necessity rather than a luxury. Although comfort became a major consideration, furniture was now as important for show, as for practical use. There was a move to develop furniture types for special purposes, especially to increase comfort. The farthingale chair is one of the best-known, made to...

Measuring moisture content of wood

Any property of wood that varies in some known and predictable way with moisture content could in theory be used to measure moisture content. According to Skaar, there are as many as fifteen methods that have been used Skaar, 1984 . Methods of moisture measurement commonly used or potentially useful in conservation are based on one or other of the following changes in mass changes in electrical resistance change in the dielectric constant. In the gravimetric method, wood is weighed then dried...

Principles of cleaning

11.1.7 Removal of varnish or overpaint 11.3.1 Classes of solvents that may be encountered in 11.3.4 Proprietary paint strippers526 11.5.7 Blanching and blooming 551 11.6 Thickened solvent delivery 11.6.2 Gelling materials 553 Clays 553 Cellulose ethers 554 Polyacrylic acid Carbopol 556 12 Principles of consolidation, aesthetic Dilution 561 Measuring small quantities 12.2.1 Introduction to consolidation treatment 562 12.2.2 Penetration of consolidant and reverse migration 563 12.2.3...

Mortise and tenon joints

Pinned Mortise And Tenon

The classic, and a most successful, way of joining end-grain to side-grain, the mortise and tenon joint Figure 2.25 can have hundreds of different variations. The mating parts can be rectangular traditional mortise and tenon or round dowels . A well-made joint offers mechanical restraint in all directions except direct withdrawal of the tenon from the mortise and is therefore able to offer good resistance to compression, shear and racking. The basic joint can be improved in several ways....

Tools and techniques

The use of machines in the conversion of raw material and the construction of furniture during the nineteenth century is a story of both important changes and minor developments. The development of machines such as circular saw planers, mortisers, borers, dovetail-cutters and veneer cutters for preparing and shaping timber was the most important change, which affected all woodworking industries, including particularly shipbuilding and house building. Machines for processing and shaping parts...

Earliest times to the Middle Ages Egypt

Ankhesnamun Throne

The earliest evidence of true furniture is found in the Egyptian society that existed some five thousand years ago. The exceptional circumstances of survival in royal tombs have given us famous examples of furniture. It is apparent that beds, chairs, stools, tables and storage boxes had all been created by 3000 bc, and there is no doubt that a skilled workforce existed in Egypt. Beds were developed from crude frames lashed together, to sophisticated jointed frames and proper suspensions of...

Materials used

The choice and range of materials available to furniture-makers in the twentieth century have been extremely wide. The continued develop ment of metal, plastics, and wood-based products has been essential to complement the traditional materials still in use. Metals The use of metal was revived in the twentieth century by Frank Lloyd Wright who developed office furniture made from metal which started a trend that has remained as a type form. The nineteenth century experiments with metal tubing...

The nineteenth century

Agius, P. 1978 British Furniture, 1880-1915, Antique Collectors Club Aslin, E. 1962 Nineteenth Century English Furniture, The Collectors Book Club Briggs, A. 1988 Victorian Things, Batsford Cathers, D. 1996 Furniture of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, Turn of the Century Editions Collard, F. 1985 Regency Furniture, Antique Collectors Club Cooper, J. 1987 Victorian and Edwardian Furniture and Interiors, Thames and Hudson Darling, S. 1984 Chicago Furniture. Art and Industry, 1833-1933,...

Estimating dimensional change

There is a difference between shrinkage, which occurs as the change in dimensions of wood on initial drying from the green condition, and movement, the dimensional change which takes place when wood that has been dried is subjected to changes in atmospheric conditions below the fibre saturation point Farmer, 1972 . It is possible that a wood may shrink quite appreciably in drying from the green condition yet it may undergo comparatively small dimensional changes when subjected to a given range...

Preparing the lacquer

Urushiol Chemical Structure

The first stage in the production of lacquer is obtaining the raw materials. Sap is collected from mature trees through incisions made in the bark Quin, 1882 . When first collected, the sap is a double emulsion of water in oil in water containing 27-50 water Figure 4.4 . During maturation the sap converts to raw lacquer, a water in oil emulsion. Raw lacquer contains urushiol 60-65 and glycoprotein 2-5 in the oil phase of the emulsion and polysaccharide 5-7 , laccase enzyme 1-2 and water 20-25...

Handlens examination

A routine starting point in identifying a given piece of wood is to locate a tiny area of end-grain surface where the wood can be cut cleanly with a razor blade or equally sharp tool to expose longitudinal cells in cross-section. When the exposed surface is examined with a good quality 10 X magnifier or hand lens, it can immediately be identified as a hardwood pores visible or softwood pores absent . In addition, placement of growth rings and rays indicates the orientation of radial and...

Specific texts relating to tools and techniques

NB Many of the other texts have sections on the subject of tools and techniques. Adair, W. 1983 The Frame in America, 1700-1900 a Survey of Fabrication Techniques and Style, The American Institute of Architects Foundation, Washington, DC Austen, B. 1992 Tunbridge Ware and Related European Decorative Woodware, Foulsham Beecroft, E. 1976 Carving Techniques, Batsford Bigelow, D. et al. eds 1992 Gilded Wood, Conservation and History, Sound View Press Bruggemann, E. 1988 Kunst und Technik des...

Taxonomy the classification of plants

Classification Plants Chart

To delve further into the anatomical nature of wood, generalities must now give way to specifics, and individual types and species must be considered at the cellular level. Taxonomy, the science of classifying living things, provides a logical approach to studying the cellular nature of wood, because, as expected, closely related trees will have similar wood tissue. It follows that wood identification is based on the systematic knowledge and recognition of cell structure. The plant kingdom is...

Microscopic examination

Coniferous Ray Cells Walls Pitted

Using a cross-section to provide orientation, surfaces can subsequently be split or shaved along the radial or tangential planes. For microscopic examination, tissue sections must be accurately cut along radial, tangential or transverse surfaces using a razor blade or comparably sharp instrument. When working on objects, it is sometimes possible to cut sections from furniture parts directly. In other cases it is more expedient to dissect first a tiny piece from the object, which can then be...

Chemical constituents of wood

Cell Wall Lignin

The cell substance of wood is described chemically as a composite material consisting of three types of organic polymers cellulose 40-50 , hemicelluloses 20-30 and lignin 25-30 . These constituents serve as skeletal, matrix and encrusting substances, respectively. In addition, a minor amount of inorganic ash content 0.1-0.5 is present in wood. Depending upon species, extractives extraneous substances, 1-5 may also be present, mainly in heartwood. Cellulose, the major chemical constituent of...

Cell structure hardwoods

In comparing the anatomy of the hardwoods with that of the softwoods several general differences are apparent. There are many more cell types present in hardwoods, and there is more variation in their arrangement. Rays in hardwoods vary widely in size, from invisibly small to conspicuous to the eye. Hardwoods do not have resin canals as such but may have gum canals in rays. Hardwood trees have evolved specialized conductive cells called vessel elements, which are distinct in having relatively...

Greece

Very few pieces of Greek furniture survive, so the main sources are the illustrations on pottery and a few remaining stone-carved items. Nevertheless, there is enough evidence to identify the main furniture types. It is not surprising that the main categories resembled Egyptian prototypes but there were other developments that had a long-lasting influence. The most important of these was the introduction of the couch as a development of the Egyptian bed. It was used not only as a bed but also...

Wood anatomy softwoods

Wood Longitudinal

The cell structure of softwoods is relatively simple compared to that of the hardwoods see Figure 2.4 . Most of the cells found in conifer ous woods are tracheids, which comprise 90-95 of the volume of the wood. Tracheids are fibre-like cells with lengths of approximately 100 times their diameter. Average tra-cheid length ranges from 2 to 6 millimetres among coniferous species, with a corresponding diameter range of approximately 20-60 pm 1 pm 0.001 mm . The relative diameter of tracheids is a...

Leather Conservayion News

Adrosko, R.J. 1990 Identifying late 19th century upholstery fabrics, in Upholstery Conservation Preprints of a Symposium held at Colonial Williamsburg, 2-4 February 1990 , American Conservation Consortium Ltd, Kingston, New Hampshire, pp. 103-35 Annis, P.A., Quigley, T.W and Kyllo, K.E. 1992a Useful techniques in textile microscopy, Textile Chemist and Colorist, 24, 19-22 Annis, P.A., Quigley, T.W and Kyllo, K.E. 1992b Hand techniques for cross-sectioning fibers and yarns, Textile Chemist and...