Published at Friday, March 30th, 2018 - 19:18:16 PM. Balloon Chair. By Gilberte Fournier.
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.
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.
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