Furniture Design and Manufacturing - A Glance Into History
The main purpose of furniture and outdoor patio furniture - supporting various human activities remains unchanged and so does its close association with decor and aesthetic appeal, at least for most of the recorded history. As a result, furniture design went through significant changes over time, especially over the last 100 years. But furniture design is not the only thing that changed through time. Manufacturing methods and processes changed dramatically as well, especially after the Industrial Revolution.
Just about all pieces of furniture were handcrafted until the early 20th century and at that time, it was normal for everyone to own a few pieces of furniture made of handcrafted solid wood. Such furniture is still possible to find, however, it has become the exception rather than the rule following the introduction of mass production of furniture which has dramatically reduced its costs due to automatisation of the manufacturing processes enabling production of huge quantities of furniture in a very short period of time as well as reduction of the costs for human labour. But technological advances in furniture manufacturing processes are not the only change in furniture making.
Modern technology has made furniture more accessible to the general public due to the above mentioned reasons as well as due to the use of new materials such as plastic which, however, cannot compete with outstanding quality and unique aesthetic appeal of wood. These alternative materials such as particle board are considerably less expensive but they are not as durable and sturdy, and need more frequent replacements. Most consumers still prefer solid wood over other materials, however, they usually choose alternative materials due to lower costs in comparison to solid wood. For the same reason, most homes are furnished with industrially made rather than handcrafted furniture which has become associated with luxury and prestige.
Ironically, most pieces of industrially made furniture cannot compare to neither quality or design of the handcrafted ones such as a beautiful individual pieces of furniture of handmade christening gifts. Mass produced furniture can feature elaborate ornamentation as well but generally, it does not reveal as much attention to details as furniture that has been handcrafted. Furthermore, handcrafted furniture is often superior over industrially made one when it comes to quality as well as durability. Whereas handcrafted furniture is often passed from generation to generation, mass produced furniture is usually replaced several times during the lifetime of its owner because it does not withstand the wear and tear nor the effects of time as good as handcrafted furniture made of solid wood. The difference in quality and durability, however, is not as obvious between handcrafted furniture and mass produced furniture made of solid wood.
Difference between the past and the present is even more obvious when it comes to furniture design which tends to change at a faster rate than ever before in history. But on the other hand, homeowners never had the ability to choose between as many different designs as today enabling them to express their taste for style and aesthetic appeal, and in a way their character and personality with items such as white painted bedroom furniture a lot better than in the past when just about everyone simply followed the established trends.