Rome

The continuation of Greek ideals, through the spread of Roman civilization around the

Mediterranean, ensured that furniture of Graeco-Roman style was used all over the Empire. For example, straight-legged folding stools have been found in Belgium and England, cross-legged stools in Holland, and a remarkable silver tripod-table in Germany. Greek forms naturally continued, with couches and klismos chairs being the most popular. Some Roman chairs were based on an upright panelled chair and there are instances of tub-shaped chairs being made from wicker.

Tables were small and round, often made in bronze or silver, with three or four legs in the shape of animal legs. Storage furniture was still mainly in the form of chests, but later came the idea of a cupboard with doors and shelves.

The Romans used a great variety of materials which included imported veneers and highly prized woods, bronze, marble, silver and materials peculiar to a specific region.

The invention of the plane, arguably the most important advance in woodworking, seems to have occurred in Roman times, as no evidence has been found of its use previously. The manufacture of furniture was aided by the development of the plane which removed a continuous shaving rather than a chip, and so allowed not only shaping, but also close fitting of parts and a smooth finish.

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