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Professor of Manual Arts, Uniydfijy V>£AVfscon$n«°. Author of "Problems in Furniture M?king," #"Ptbt5--: lems in Wood-Turning/' and "Mtfnail.; Art£:"*for Vocational Ends."

The Manual Arts Prlss Peoria, Illinois

The Manual Arts Prlss Peoria, Illinois



Foreword 3

Principles, Rules and Expedients 7

Practical Helps 11

An Important Principle 13

Some Details Worth Considering 16

Group I. Taborets and Low Pedestals. 21

Group II. Stools and Small Seats 41

Group III. Umbrella Racks 57

Group IV. BookShelves 63


Group V. Wall Cabinets 67

Group VI. Screens 71

Group VII. Long Seats and Chests 77

Group VIII. Small Tables 85

Group IX. Writing and Sewing Tables. 93

Group X. Large Tables 101

Group XI. Costumers 105

Group XII. Chairs Ill

The Average Sizes of Furniture 121


Design may be divided into two parts, pure and applied. Pure design deals with principles and terras used in producing pleasing forms without any particular reference to their application in useful objects. Applied design makes use of the same principles and terms, but always as elements in a problem, the solution of which is the production of a pattern for use. There may be a problem set in pure design, such as the arrangement of certain abstract or conventional spots to illustrate, for example, the principle of balance, Fig. 1. If now these same spots are to be arranged as a part of a symmetrical group for the decoration of a book end, for example, the element of application enters— a use is to be made of the spots as arranged, Fig. 2. The result secured in the first instance might be used to decorate some object. The arrangement in the second case, however, is made for the express purpose of decorating some particular object. In the first case we have an ex ample of pure design. In the second one of applied design.

Now, if an applied design requires mechanical construction as distinct from that which does not involve principles of mechanical operation in carrying it out, it is spoken of as a constructive design, Fig. 3. Manifestly furniture desijgn is a part of constructive design.

The parent constructive design is architecture. It may not be easy to draw analogies between tW draign of :i house and the design of a piece of furniture. Nevertheless in the use of prin-eiples t\i design in these two forms of constructive design there is a very close relationship. In the finishing of the inside of a house, in the arrangement of the doors and windows, both from the standpoint of inside and outside appearance, in the dividing up of spaces between door«, windows, etc., problems very similar to




those found in furniture design have to he solved and the principles involved are the same in both cases.

These principles, as generally classified, an; three in number, viz.. Rhythm, Balance, and Ilarmonv.

Rhythm in thai quality in a design which enable» the eye, without effort, to move from one nother ni tracing any arrangement of oh the designer has sought to make It hio* been spoken of as a mavrmtnf part». Perhaps, because of the use of Ik some have thought that rhythm could rod need without the employment of en. The most natural rhythm appears fed lines are employed, provided they in-»- um .« aO thai one lends naturally into another as in the ease of a scroll. See B, Plate 17 (modeled rail line and outline of pin). However, rhythm is possible without the use of any curves. There is rhythm in a flight of stair steps in the uniform off-set from one step to the next succeeding one and so on. There is rhythm, also, in any well designed piece of furniture whether the parts are severely straight or not, provided then» is a succession of similar breaks, cuts, projections, measurements, etc. See Plate 32 (Drawers in each cabinet). When the rails in the back of a chair, t 'n a desk or sideboard divide ending or descending


Balance is the equalization of parts to produce apparent or real rest. This condition is the result of pairing-off of parts with reference to an axis, as in the case of a seat, table or desk where one end is the duplicate of the other. See Plates 25, 26, 31, 33 and 34. An analogy is found in the lever where the weight and lever arm on one side of the fulcrum are identical with corresponding parts on the other side, Fig. 4. This is the simplest form of balance and is known as symmetry. Another form of balance less easily analyzed but nevertheless just as real and often quite as apparent is produced by the arrangement of parts with reference to the whole rather than its axis. There is quite as much feeling of stability where balance of this more subtle a-l W

type exists as where it is produced by means of symmetry. See Plate 24 (Perspective and draw ing A). In a desk or dresser there may be, in the arrangement of drawers and cabinets, no

conformity to the law of symmetry, yet the whole presents a balanced appearance, Fig. 5. The

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analogy of the lever may be used here, but not so perfectly. It is to be found in a lever which establishes a perfect balance or equilibrium, but

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