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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 153

       FURNITURE MAKING IN THIS COUNTRY
shrewd New England
manufacturers,    with
their superior knowi-
edge  of    machinery,
managed      to   plant
themselves    in  t h e
1\Iiddle West and to
distance   their  com-
petitors.  The center
of these new manu-
facturing     interests
was  then    in Grand
Rapids, Michigan, so
that the new style of
furniture which was
produced came to be
known as Grand
Rapids furniture.   It
was plainer than the black walnut furniture
and was fashioned more after the Colonial
models, but the best features were speedily
lost in the ornamentation with which it was
overlaid, as well as in the modification and
adaptation of the earlier forms by a new gen-
eration of designers, who had studied foreign
furniture and so gained a smattering of the
traditional  styles which they proceeded   to
apply to the creation of ³novelties.²  About
this time the large department stores sprang
up and, as they very soon became the principal
retailers, they naturally assumed control of
the furniture that was made.   The demand
for novelties was unceasing and the designer
was at the beck and call of the traveling sales-
man, who in his turn was compelled to supply
a ceaseless stream of new attractions to the
head  of   the  furniture department,<whose
business it was constantly to whet the public
LOW ROCKER AND DIG)[¹-LE \F SE\VlZ~C TABLE WITH THREE
DRAWERS; THE UPPER ONE HAVING A SLIDING TRAY MADE
OF CEDAR WITH cOMPARTMENTS FOR SPOOLS.
  appetite  for   further
  novelties.
   The    greater    part
  of the  demand thus
~ created was satisfied
  by the Grand Rapids
  furniture       but a~
  wealth    and   culture
  increased, and     peo-
  pIe became more and
  more    familiar   with
  European homes and
  European     luxuries.
  the   new  vogue   for
  the ³neriod² furniture
  sprang up among the
  richer  class,     and
  some   of the   factor-
ies turned their attention to endeavoring to
duplicate the several styles of French and Eng-
lish furniture of the seventeenth and eight-
eenth  centuries.   These   factories are still
running,    some of  them being employed   in
turning out the closest imitation they can make
of the ³period² furniture and others in re-
producing Colonial models.
 While we were doing these things in Amer-
ica, Ruskin and Morris had been endeavor-
ing to establish in England a return to handi-
crafts as a means of individual expression
along the several lines of the fine and indus-
trial arts.   This gave rise over there to the
Arts and Crafts movement, which was based
chiefly upon the expression of untrammeled
individualism.   Much furniture was made,<
some of it good, but a great deal of it show-
ing the    eccentricities of personal fancy un<
I
ROUND TABLE THAT IS \VELL ADAPTED TO GENERAL USE.
                                              153
CHESS OR CHECKER TABLE HAVING TOP COVERED WITH
HARD LEATHER MARKED OFF INTO SQUARES FOR THE
BOARD.
A


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