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Oscar P. Fitzgerald

American city in western Michigan, noted for its furniture production. Its situation at the rapids of the Grand River provided ease of river transportation and proximity to timber from Michigan’s great pine and hardwood forests. The furniture industry began in Grand Rapids when the city’s first cabinetmaker, William ‘Deacon’ Haldane (1807–98), established a shop there in 1836. By 1851 E. M. Ball of Powers & Ball was boasting that he could toss ‘whole trees into the hopper and grind out chairs ready for use’ to fill an order for 10,000 chairs in Chicago (Ransom, p. 5). In the 1870s Grand Rapids became a major factor in the American furniture market. Such companies as Berkey & Gay, Widdicomb, Phoenix and Nelson-Matter built large factories and hired Dutch and other European immigrants to operate them. While most of these manufacturers produced complete lines of bedroom, parlour and dining-room suites, some, like the ...

Article

Brian Austen

English centre of furniture production. The town is situated in Buckinghamshire near the Chiltern Hills, where there is a plentiful supply of timber, particularly beech. The ‘Windsor’ chair, with which High Wycombe is particularly associated, was available in the London market c. 1720, and London chairmakers drew from the High Wycombe area billets of beech and probably such turned components as legs and stretchers. Turners, known as ‘bodgers’, would fell timber and directly convert it on simple pole lathes. Complete chairs were probably being manufactured in the High Wycombe area by the mid-18th century. Furniture workshops first appeared in the town after 1750, using turned components produced by the ‘bodgers’, making other parts such as the seat and assembling complete chairs for wholesale or retail sale. Four makers were listed in a directory of 1784, three being members of the Treacher family, and in the 1790s William Treacher was offering ‘Windsor, dyed and fancy chairs’. Another early maker was ...

Article

Tiranë  

Gjergj Frashëri

Capital city of Albania and centre of production for furniture, glass, wood-carving and ceramics. The ‘Misto Mame’ Woodwork Combine was initially established in 1947 as a small workshop for furniture production. By 1951 it had changed its name to Ndërmarrja e Përpunimit të Drurit ‘Misto Mame’ (‘Misto Mame’ woodworking enterprise) and had greatly increased in size. In 1973 the combine adopted its present name and opened a group of factories. The most important sector within the combine is the furniture production unit, which produces complete suites of bedroom furniture, bookcases, sideboards, tables etc. The majority of products have matt or semi-matt veneer finishes of beech, maple, walnut, poplar, elm and cherry. The Milde Furniture Factory produces armchairs, sofas and wall panelling for domestic interiors and public buildings. Many of the products are covered with textiles such as damask, produced locally. The Factory of Furniture for Institutions produces one-off, usually commissioned, pieces of furniture and decorative items. The Department of Parquet Tiles produces flooring for many different interiors. The combine has its own Technological Bureau and collaborates with such institutes of interior design as the Institute of Building Project Studies and Designs No.1 and the Bureau of Wood Project Studies and Design in Tiranë. Some of the combine’s production is exported....