Organization of trades

Eighteenth century furniture-making was characterized by the variety of crafts that were the constituent parts of the trade: carvers; turners; joiners; chairmakers and fancy chairmakers; cabinetmakers; clock-case makers; japanners; turners; gilders; looking-glass and picture frame-makers; and upholsterers. The success of many businesses is exemplified by the description from 1747, when it was said in a General Description of all Trades that: '... many of their shops are so richly set out they look more like palaces, and their stocks are of exceeding great value'. An example of the entrepreneur-maker was the business of Thomas Chippendale, first recorded working in Long Acre. By 1753 Chippendale had opened a workshop in Saint Martin's Lane, London and in 1754 he had published A Gentleman And Cabinet-Maker's Director. This was to be one of the most influential pattern books published in the period. Among other designer-makers were Vile and Cobb from Saint Martin's Lane. Between 1759 and 1763 the business of Ince and Mayhew was responsible for publishing a Universal System of Household Furniture, which had over 300 designs in it.

In 1788 George Hepplewhite's CabinetMakers' and Upholsterers' Guide was published. This was in fact two years after his death, when the business was being run by his widow, Alice. The publication was a successful venture and ran into three editions before 1794.

Between 1791 and 1794 Thomas Sheraton's The Cabinet-Maker's and Upholsterer's Drawing Book was published. It encouraged an economic approach to design with a light delicate touch. This economy in materials, space use and cost resulted in simple, elegant or compact furniture items. In 1803 his The Cabinet Dictionary was published. It is doubtful that Sheraton ever made furniture or had a workshop as his business was teaching and drawing, nevertheless his designs demonstrated the delicacy, strength and desire for utility that are hallmarks of the last part of the eighteenth century.

The situation in America developed slightly differently. Although the apprentice, journeyman, master system based on the old guild practice continued, there was a degree of freedom of movement and flexibility of employment that allowed craftsmen to move around whilst learning the whole business of furniture-making. This had the effect of maintaining local styles of construction, design and decoration but also allowed for some influence from other shops and traditions.

For much of the eighteenth century the French trade was controlled very strictly by the guild system, which did not allow the several distinct trades to cross over. The divisions were menuisier (solid wood and joiner), ébéniste (veneered cabinetmaker), fondeur (metal mounts), ciseleur (bronze chaser), vernisseur (lacquer-worker), marqueteur (marquetry-panel maker) and doreur (gilder). From 1743 the guilds demanded that all pieces made were stamped with the maker's initials and the JME (juré des menuisiers et ébénistes) mark. The control of the guilds was limited to an extent, as royal makers were exempt from the controls, as were makers outside the city boundaries. In addition to the makers, the businesses of the marchands-merciers must be stressed in their role of taste-makers and decorators.

How To Sell Furniture

How To Sell Furniture

Types Of Furniture To Sell. There are many types of products you can sell. You just need to determine who your target market is and what specific item they want. Or you could sell a couple different ones in a package deal.

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