Published at Friday, March 30th, 2018 - 19:58:28 PM. Balloon Chair. By Ernest Barnier.
A point often forgotten when purchasing chairs is restoration, as few surviving examples would not have been repaired at some stage. When purchasing chairs, it is not unusual to spend more money with a good restorer than you actually paid for the article itself. The repair of a chair, the most used object in the home, is expensive when compared to, say, a chest of drawers. If restored properly, a chest of drawers may need serious attention only once every 50 or so years, where a set of chairs may need attention on a frequent basis. Sets of chairs that are let go for generations often need a lot of attention, even to a point of needing to be steamed apart and re-glued which takes time and patience. A single chair often consumes more time than for a dining table. Even now in our local area, it is not easy to find a competent tradesman to repair sets of chairs, as they all look upon them as 'charity' jobs.
The 1890s led to another major change in both style and design. The quality of timber available for furniture manufacture was by no means good compared to the timber used half a century earlier, but we were smarter now and knew how to make things stronger, quicker and even less expensive than before. However, this was done at the expense of hand carving, crisp, tight turnings and to the cherished designs of the past. Unfortunately this is progress; otherwise we would still be in the dark ages with clubs and caves. The style of the period was square, with turnings, machine-carved decoration, and pressings, and designed for mass-production, losing much of the character and finesse for which the earlier cedar chairs were renowned.
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