The History of Cheaply Made Furniture

October 30th, 2014

 

Modern furniture may be inexpensive, but it surely isn’t durable. Some seems downright flimsy and too delicate to actually use. What happened to the solid reliability of real furniture? Remember when you could sit on a chair and know that it would support you without even thinking about it; when you could set the table for a banquet and know it would not collapse?

 

Once World War II was over, people were very busy procreating… Houses started springing up all over the place. Grandma, Grandpa, Mom and Dad just didn’t have the resources to give or bequeath furniture to all the young folks starting out on lives of their own.

 

Industry was quick to pick up on the fact; they knew what to do. Quick as a wink they stepped up manufacturing to fill the need. But demand kept growing; they needed more and more. They nailerdeveloped newer, faster techniques to do away with time-consuming screws, glue, dowels, and clamps. They built bigger machines that could cut eight identical chair legs at one time; jigs where one man could snap together four seats in less than a minute, secure them with a nail gun and send them down the line to be upholstered.

 

But they wanted more and more; faster and faster; cheaper and cheaper. So they began to use wire staples to hold furniture together, but they weren’t very reliable; they needed something else. They came up with the corrugated fastener that fit in an unpowered hammer-like device. You struck between two joints and the fastener pulled it together.

 

wire staples

We all know what happened. Furniture began to fail and fall apart. At first people tried to fix things; then the prices dropped and it was simply cheaper to replace it with something new. We grew into a consumer society that didn’t appreciate quality.
 
Now the pendulum has swung back. We’re wondering why were we always replacing things? Can’t they just make things better so that they last?

corr fast

 

The Truth
Actually they never stopped making exceptional things, at least not all of them. But before the internet and the World Wide Web you had to actually go and find the artisans. If you stumbled across one of the Amish Communities it was like finding a gold mine.

 

Stepping Back in Time               

Suddenly the clock slowed down; people here took life at a livable pace. There was no rushing to meetings; no planes to catch; no sales target to meet. They just did their daily work, with humility and dedication. It pleased them that people took the time to appreciate their skills with furniture. And they could support their community by doing what they did best.
 
The English (non-Amish) started to come in droves; here was quality they had not experienced in their lives. This was the furniture of legend; the sort of things that had been in their grandparents’ homes.

 

Handcrafted by master builders; created by people that had been doing it for their whole lives, with skills passed down from generation to generation. If you only want to buy a piece of furniture one more time in your life, and you want to hand it down to your heirs, and they to theirs, you’ve finally found the right place. Stop throwing your money away. This time you are going to invest in something that will have value forever.





Disaster Relief Housing is Modular, Self-Sufficient and Fast

October 29th, 2014

 
If you are interested modular architecture then consider looking at the NYC Emergency Housing Prototype designed by Garrison Architects in collaboration with New York City Office of Emergency Management. The houses don’t use actual shipping containers with their livability hassles, just the idea of their helpful stackability. Since the units don’t rely on infrastructure like public water, they provide for their residents after natural disasters. They also go up quickly in case of an emergency.
 
Learn more at Jetson Green
 





Solarbox: Repurposing London Phone Booths into Phone Chargers

October 28th, 2014

 
By Tobin Dimmitt
 

Pop culture has added a futuristic twist to old London phone booths with Dr. Who. Now reality is changing phone booths into solar powered mobile phone charging stations. More accurately, Team Solarbox is repurposing phone booths rather than letting them become waste.
 
The Solarbox not only brings green energy to London streets but provides a free service to the public as well as valuable advertising space to businesses. A large portion of the political spectrum can get behind a project like Solarbox since it not only provides a green public service, but it also pays for itself through ads.
 
In other words, phone booths really can take you to the future.
 
More at TreeHugger
 





18th Century Desks: Don’t Just Look at Them

October 28th, 2014

 
The Working Wood in the 18th Century conference is going on 17 years strong this January. Colonial Williamsburg will present pieces from their collection to exemplify Federal-era furniture. And since you’ll be in Virginia, why not visit the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum? Just think of all those beautiful antiques.
 
Find more information at Fine Woodworking and Colonial Williamsburg
 





Schiller Bicycles Cross Water

October 27th, 2014
Judah Schiller - copyright Schiller Bikes
Photo copyright Schiller bikes

Bicycles are at the forefront of alternative transportation, and now it’s not only on land. Schiller Bikes is now producing water bikes on pontoons. Judah Schiller rigged up the BayCycle last year and now it’s time for the rest of America to hop on board. Now, petroleum-free water transportation is more available than ever.
 
Learn more at Forbes
 





Elegant Sunny Apartment Tour

October 27th, 2014

 
Stephanie A. Meyer’s apartment is personable. The cookbook author isn’t looking for any design awards by going over-the-top contemporary or opulent traditional. Meyer’s classic apartment is warm, bright, and livable. Thanks, Stephanie, for reminding us that it’s okay to design a space for a human being to live in.
 
The tour is at Apartment Therapy.
 





Industrial Contemporary Office from a Warehouse

October 27th, 2014

 
Warehouses are the 3D version of a blank page for a designer or architect. That’s why they’re so popular to repurpose. Since there are enough warehouse apartments around the net, Sherry Nothingam decided to tour this repurposed warehouse office space in Turkey by IGLO Architects.
 
Get office-inspired at Decoist
 





Painting a Grey Cinderblock Fence White

October 24th, 2014

 
Finish your last outdoor improvement projects while you still can. Cassity and family at Remodelaholic decided to paint their yard’s ugliest cinderblock fence to match the white fences they like. It’s an instructive process, outlining steps to flatten the painting surfaces and apply quality outdoor paint.
 
Click, you’ll like the result.
 





Traditional Country Fall Decor

October 24th, 2014

 

Since the North End Loft is such a country home, using country style fall decor comes naturally to Laurel Stephens. This fall home tour is classic and festive. Some of her details would surprise you, like using beans to create a harvest-themed candle hurricane. Laurel’s autumn touches are bright, but classy all the same.
 
Click on fall inspirations
 





Minimalist Wall Unit Systems

October 23rd, 2014

 
Wall units and separators can add vertical storage while dedicating spaces to certain functions. Contemporary minimalism is doing beautiful things to wall units. Narrow supports and glass shelves can make your belongings look like they’re floating in mid air. Check out Decoist for a gallery of Italian designed wall units from Porada.
 
Inspirational