Published at Friday, March 30th, 2018 - 19:40:27 PM. Balloon Chair. By Dylan Boutet.
In my opinion, the second break-point in cabinet-making history is around 1835, when there were numerous changes in the styles of furniture influenced by many great designers. It was also the beginning of modern industrialisation, with the introduction of steam engines for power in the workshop, rather than horse-driven tread mills. This new technology drove a network of geared flat drive belts to give variations of speed used for rotating and band saws, and planers and lathes for cutting, planing, and turning timber for furniture manufacture. Also, our population was growing rapidly with barely enough skilled cabinetmakers to satisfy the growing demands of our young nation. The majority of chairs in this period were made with turned front legs, a convict (or trafalgar) style back and, occasionally, a carved back rail. The seats were often cane with a covered cushion for winter use and comfort; front seat rails were cross-grained on better quality chairs, as was sometimes the back rail. Drop in seats were also used in this period, but seldom seen after 1845.
Well, at least they were 19th century! Unfortunately, with steadily increasing labour and material costs the era of the bodger (or chair-maker) was close to an end before the end of the 19th century. The end of truly hand-made chairs: mortised and tenoned without the aid of machinery; with turned and carved legs, sometimes even with carved back rails depending on the particular skills of the craftsman making them. Very few examples of Australian chairs with the Trafalgar-style back have carving on the actual cresting rails; these chairs, even as individuals, are eagerly sought and highly prized.
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