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Stickley, Gustav, 1858-1942. / Craftsman homes
(1909)

An outline of furniture-making in this country: showing the place of craftsman furniture in the evolution of an American style,   pp. 151-159


Page 152

       FURNiTURE MAKING IN THIS COUNTRY
beauty of the hand-made pieces was lost.
The Windsor chairs, with their perfect
proportions, subtle modeling and slen(lcr
legs shaped with the turning lathe, be-
came  a thino  of the past, for in      the
factories it was necessary from a busi--
ness point of view to effect the utmost
savings in material and also to consider
the limitations of the machinery of that
day   The  object of  the manufacturer
naturally was  to turn out the greatest
possible quantit~ of goods with the least
possible amount  of  labor and expense.
and the result was so many modifications
of the orioinal form that the  factory<
made chairs soon become commonplace.
When machines were    invented to take
the place of hand turning and carving.
it was inevitable that vulgarity should
be added to the   colflm(I)111)laceness, be<
    cause it is so easy to disguise bad lines with
    cheap ornamentation.
       >i(le by side with these chair factories
    another furniture industry was  springing
    up, mainly in the Middle West because that
    was  the black walnut  cotintry and black
    walnut was the material most in demand
    for the more elaborate furniture. At the
    same time  that the New   Englancler was
    evolving from the artisan who carried on
    his work with the aid of a little water mill.
    to  a manufacturer  who   owned  a chair
    factory run  by machinery,  a number  of
    German cabinetmakers ~vho had settled in
    Indiana and the neighboring states were ac-
    cumulating,  by means   of  industry and
    thrift, enough means   to set up  general
furniture factories, which supplied the country
with black walntit ŒŒparlor suits,² upholstered
with baircloth, repps or plush, while the New
Englander remained content to furnish it with
dining room and kitchen chairs.
    This period  in otir furniture corresponds
with the architectural phase in this country
which has aptly been termed the ³reign of
terror,² but we are in some measure consoled
for the hideous bad taste of it all by the re-
dection that   it was  contemporary \yith the
earle and mid<Victorian   period in England.
a term that everywhere stands for all that is
ugly, artificial and commonplace in household
art.  It was succeeded by the first of the Grand
Rapids furniture, which was in some measure
a change for the better.    Tempted by the
sticcess of the German furniture makers, the
A N ARM<ill .\IR AND ROCKER THAT ARE ilL ILT FOE SOLID
(OMFORT AS WELL AS DLRAlIILITy.
LARGE OGTAGDNAL T\1lIE, TOI¹ COVERED WITH HARD LEATHER
DESIGNED FOR LIORARV DR lIVING ROOM.
LARGE cRAFTSMAN LOUN(~iNO CHAiR.
152


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