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EXAMPLES OF CRAFTSMANSHIP AT THE SHORDITCH TECHNICAL SCHOOL, LONDON

Modern dressing table

China cabinet in Walnut

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in furniture demands exact reproductions, the following situation is rapidly created and in England it is being experienced today: All makers who supply retail houses. immediately turn to the recognized authoritative historical sources for their models to copy. For instance, they go to Chippendale's well known "Gentlemen's and Cabinet-maker's Directory," published in 1754, and since several times reprinted. For Sheraton work they consult "The Cabinet-Maker's and Upholsterer's Drawing Book," published in 1791, and for Heppelwhite they go to "The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Guide," published in 1789. For Jacobean work they go to the public museums of furniture or to books published which give illustra

Toilet Stands adapted from old examples of the 18th Century

tions and details of such furniture. Now it is quite obvious that after a year or two the best models from these sources will have beeen turned out by numbers of firms. They are available for anyone who may choose to copy. So that makers find each other turning out exactly the same things. The first-class firm finds itself more or less on a level, as far as design is concerned, with the second or third rate house. Something must be done to remedy this. The designer cannot help them, for as fashion is, he is not permitted to originate. The public demands exact copies of old work and the public in England is now very well educated in this matter. It cannot be put off with the spurious. It is very quickly suspicious of a cabinet or a chair which suggests that it has been originated in the drawing office and issued as an exact reproduction of an old thing. The public is not technically instructed, but it seems to have an instinct for the right article, and retailers, particularly in the West End of London, will admit readily enough that for some reason or other they have difficulty in selling a piece of furniture as a good and exact replica if it has been merely designed in the style without reference to an old piece. Of course, there is a very large trade done in Georgian adaptations, but the public knows quite well the difference between an adaptation and a reproduction. From the foregoing it will be readily seen that manufacturers of reproductions are forced to search for old pieces of furniture which are not available to everyone. They must get hold of pieces of exceptional character which have not been photographed, measured, published, and exhibited broadcast. Sometimes with a little diplomacy and interest permission is obtained for a firm to measure an old piece in private possession and when the contents of an historical house are sold at auction it is no uncommon thing at all for a manufacturing firm to bid against private buyers for exceptional pieces, merely to have exclusive right to reproduce them.

Evidence of Hand Work

There can be no doubt that the taste for this recrudescence of historical furniture accounts, in some measure, for the continued life of the little cabinet-maker in such a

place as Shoreditch. Reproductions, to be really convincing, must have some individual craftsmanship about them. You cannot take an old Chippendale chair and reproduce it by machinery. You may use power, of

course, to drive lathes, you may cut dowels, mortises, and tenons, and plane wood and cut veneers by means of machines. But these operations in reproducing old furniture are not the essential operations. It is the cabinetmaking, the carving, the fitting together, in short, the art of the work which tells. I was examining the backs of two old Chippendale chairs the other day. Both were carved, both were good of their kind. But one was immensely superior to the other in what one may call the handling of the wood. The surface of the back where it was cut away here and there gave evidence of having been thought about. You could see the marks of the tools, and what is almost more to the point, it was evident that those tool marks had been left there in the efforts to obtain form. They had not been put there to look pretty and effective. Now the other chair back, although carved, showed evidence that the carving had been put on simply to decorate. Directly the ornament was complete it had been regarded as finished. It did not show that the carver had realized that the decoration and perforated back were parts of one and the same thing and that both should be in harmony with one another. There was a flatness, a triteness, a stiffness about it that looked comparatively mechanical. These qualities, to the maker of commercial furniture, both in England and the United States, may appear as immaterial. And as far as the actual utility of the piece is concerned they are unimportant. But in reproducing old work it is absolutely necessary that qualities such as these shall be obtained and they cannot possibly be arrived at by machinery. They must be got by the work of the hand. The opposite condition of things may be realized by calling to mind the "Quaint" or "New Art" styles which were so much in fashion some years ago. Here the essential quality was the simplicity of line and form, and obviously the simpler the form the more easily it could be obtained by machinery and the less need was there for hand work. There were thousands of cabinets, tables, hall stands, bookcases, chairs, sideboards, and so on, which could be entirely made by machinery excepting the simple operations of fitting together. American and Canadian readers will be familiar

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A Gate-leg Table in oak, having double gates to support each leaf and exceptionally strong chamfered underpinning

with the machine made parts of furniture still constructed for convenient dispatch to customers hundreds of miles away which are put together on arrival at their destination. Intelligent organization and coöperation between the drawing office and workshop can easily result in furniture of simple character being turned out with scarcely anything in the way of hand work being put upon it. For the making of such furniture the individual craftsman is superfluous.

Technical Education in Shoreditch

Right in the middle of the Shoreditch district in London is the Shoreditch Technical Institute, whose activity is largely concerned in giving instruction to young men and young women in the various crafts practiced in the

furnishing trade. Now the organization of technical schools is well known and understood in America, but some reference to the principles of teaching furniture making at Shoreditch may be interesting to readers of THE RECORD. It should be remembered, first of all, that the craft of the cabinet-maker in England is traditional. Many of its methods are not the result of carefully thought out inventions applied to particular purposes. They cannot be considered, in the ordinary acceptation of the terms, "bright" and "clever," any more than the wasteful open fire which alone warms an English house can be considered a very bright way of keeping the temperature up to a habitable point when there are many more efficient systems of heating. But these methods, like the open fire, continue to persist; and in furniture making they result in a very important quality which we call character. The extraordinary activity in applied mechanics has given to the manufacturer of furniture means for subdivision of labor, for cheap and fast production and for increasing volume of output which, under the old conditions, would have been impossible. But these mechanical improvements have a tendency to stereotype style and to destroy that form and artistic merit which made old English furniture what it is. Pressure of competition in the commercial world can, it is felt, be trusted to stimulate mechanical invention and application quite sufficiently in the furniture making trade without making special efforts at the Technical Institute to encourage its study. But

without means of studying craftsmanship and design, as understood by the great masters of English cabinetmaking, it is certain that hundreds of young artisans would enter large factories and probably never be fit for anything more than a smart attendance on machines for the making of parts. They would never understand and appreciate the principles underlying the construction of all furniture. To take a very simple case in point: Machinery will cut a dovetail joint much quicker than the hand can make it. Then why trouble a youth to learn the lower method? The answer is the old one that it's a fine discipline of hand, eye, and head, and is important in the building up of character. Youths are taught to invent and make their own "scratches" for molding when it is quite well understood that in a factory they might never have to use anything but a machine made molding. It is felt that the valuable part of English furniture making is the old spirit and tradition of craftsmanship which must be kept alive in face of the continuous development of mechanical methods. So that nearly everything in the Institute is done by hand and because it is thought that the most finished manifestation of English craftsmanship was in the 18th century that period is referred to very largely for inspiration. Adaptations, as well as copies, are made in school to encourage the pupils to think for themselves and not place undue reliance on other people's invention. The Shoreditch Institute is supported by the London County Council, who have

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recently made another very important move in the district for encouraging the study of Old English furniture. This is the conversion of an old, picturesque block of almshouses called Geffryes Garden into a permanent museum. The buildings, which are situated round an open garden, were erected in the early part of the 18th century and gradually, through loans from private collectors and from other sources, a collection of old English furniture is being got together so that those who are working in the cabinet-making industry in the district may have, easily of access, a place for study. About thirty-six per thousand of the male population resident in Shoreditch and neighborhood are engaged in the furniture making trade and the daily influx of workers who live in other parts is very large. A small point in connection with this museum which will appeal to any student of furniture who has spent much time in great museums, is the better sense of proportion which is obtained when furniture is arranged in suitable rooms, rather than in large galleries. The almshouses are small and although their conversion has necessitated a few structural alterations, the specimens are being shown in rooms of about the size for which such furniture was primarily designed. That charming degree of homeliness and intimacy which old furniture possesses will not be interfered with as is so often the case in large national collections arranged in halls of immense proportions.

Recent Deaths

Charles M. Partridge, 66 years old, a pioneer traveling salesman of New York, died suddenly of heart failure at Margaretville, N. Y., March 18. Mr. Partridge's death occurred without warning in the ticket room of the Margaretville railroad station. He represented the Peter Bradley lines in New York state.

Ernst F. Blum, who operated furniture manufacturing business in Hamilton, Ohio, for years, died suddenly when striken with apoplexy on the street near his home. Mr. Blum, who was 76 years old, served during the Civil war as a member of the military band of Company D, Ninth Ohio Volunteers, and later acted as director of the Appolo band, Hamilton. He is survived by his widow and four children.

Edward Schrenkeisen, one of the well-known family of furniture manufacturers, once prominent in the upholstery trade, committed suicide at his home in New York on April 7, by inhaling gas. Fourteen years ago his father killed himself in the same house on 75th street, New York, by drinking carbolic acid. Edward Schrenkeisen was found by his brother Victor, who with the mother of the sons lived in the old family residence. The deceased had been a widower for the past year and a half and the death of his wife had affected him deeply.

John Grant Dillon, secretary-treasurer of the Waite Furniture Co., of Portsmouth, Ohio, died on March 19, following a sudden attack of uremic poisoning. Three days before his untimely end, Mr. Dillon was at his accustomed place in the office of the Waite Furniture Co., his attention to business details giving no indication of the sorrowful developments that were to follow within a few hours. Mr. Dillon was born in Burlington, Ohio, the son of a Methodist minister and lived in many places, as the sons of Methodist ministers are wont to do, until he settled in Portsmouth, Ohio, at the age of twenty, where he accepted the position of bookkeeper for the Waite Furniture Co. This was in 1883 and he had been there ever since. In connection with his brother, the entire stock of the company was purchased in 1897. He was active all

his life in the church of his father. He was married in 1897 and leaves a widow and a son and daughter.

Somewhat Personal

John N. Ahl, formerly of Seele & Ahl, of Binghamton, N. Y. now handles the goods of the Key Chair Co., in connection with the line of Prufrock-Litton, through New England.

Henry W. Medicus, of C. H. Medicus & Son, Brooklyn, whose health has not been particularly good since he was operated on about a year ago, has just returned home from the South.

L. L. Valentine, of the Valentine-Seaver Co., Chicago, Ill., accompanied by Mrs. Valentine, left early in March for an extended trip which will include the Hawaiian Islands. Mr. Seaver returned March 1st from a trip to Florida.

E. M. Hulse, the Colombus lounge and couch manufacturer, sends a postal card mailed at Singapore, but illustrative of an experience at Fort Agria, India. Mr. and Mrs. Hulse have been making a tour around the world and about this time should be in Japan. They were in Singapore on February 19.

H. B. Conaway has been made buyer of the SimpsonCrawford store of New York which has been purchased by a new company to be known as the Simpson-Crawford Corporation, of which Alexander McLachlan, of the O'Neil-Adams Co., is the president and is to have the direction of the business for a year on the basis of 25 per cent. of the profits for his services.

Consulting Engineers of Experience

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ANUFACTURERS who contemplate making changes in their plants, and particularly those who are planning to introduce individual motor drive-and there are many such-are apt to hesitate for the lack of exact scientific knowledge. But this obstacle is removed by the announcement elsewhere of the Thos. S. Watson Company, consulting engineers, who are in position to handle electrical, mechanical, hydraulic and illuminating problems. Mr. Watson is the longest established consulting engineer in the Northwest. He has been for many years a designer of electrical apparatus in general, and motors and generators in particular. He is the inventor of the famous Watson motor and his name has always been connected with high grade propositions. He has now devoted his attention to the application of electrical energy to woodworking plants for nearly six years and has electrically equipped a number of large plants in the Northwest. With his extensive and varied experience he should be able to serve well the manufacturers contemplating applying direct drive. In a future issue of THE FURNITURE MANUFACTURER AND ARTISAN Mr. Watson will contribute an article on "The Use of Electric Power in Wood-Working Plants."

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Gum Manufacturers to Meet

HE Gum Manufacturers association will meet May 19 and 20 at the Gayoso Hotel, Memphis. The program for the meeting has not yet been completed, but there will be reports of the officers and standing committees, and a special feature will be the report by R. M. Carrier, chairman of the committee on technical research. This report will deal with the question of properly manufacturing and caring for gum lumber. A cordial invitation is extended to all manufacturers and users of gum lumber to be present and to participate in the meeting. Every effort will be made to make this meeting a meinorable one in the history of red gum.

TELEPHONE IN THE FURNITURE PLANT

Short Cut in Accomplishing Results---Simple Systems Which Can be Applied to the Furniture Factory---Get Rid of Running to Various Departments

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By ALEXANDER T. DEINZER

HE large furniture manufacturer of today finds competition keener than it ever was before. He finds material more costly and wages higher than any time in the history of the industry. The labor unions have shortened the working day and naturally the output per man is greatly lessened. Accordingly the value of every employe's time has increased and the necessity of utilizing every moment of it becomes evident. In order to meet this keen competition and utilize every moment of this valuable employe's time, the manufacturer must avail himself of every short cut and adopt every method possible to eliminate the waste of time in the conduct of his business.

The average furniture factory, with its many large departments, covers a great deal of ground. This is the more evident when one considers the bulkiness of the product. In fact, the furniture plant is a small city in itself. Naturally, there is a lot of inter-departmental business to be transacted, which necessitates the foreman of this or that department spending half an hour or so in a visit to the superintendent or the superintendent wasting his valuable time in a trip to some distant department, etc.

Of all the time savers adaptable to the furniture industry the telephone reaching to every part of the plant. is the greatest. With an inter-communicating telephone system, the superintendent can do his work much quicker and better. A system of this kind connecting every department would save an aggregate amount of time in a year, the value of which would pay for the system itself

many times over.

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go so well, work slackens at once and loss ensues. You know, yourself, the great amount of time that is lost by people moving about the factory and going from one department to another, asking questions and in many instances doing a little talking after the business is transacted.

An inter-communicating system will save all this running around. The superintendent may want to talk to the boss in the lumber yard; instead of sending a messenger and bringing this man way up to his office, he just takes the matter up by telephone. Maybe there's a little difficulty in the shipping-room and the clerk wants the advice of the superintendent; instead of walking way up to the office, he telephones. Perhaps there is trouble with the power; the engineer is summoned by telephone from the department where the trouble occurs.

Altogether, the establishment of a telephone system in the furniture plant will mean the actual lessening of the number of employes on the pay roll to turn out the same amount of work. All messengers may be dispensed with immediately. The lack of interruption in the daily routine of business will be noticeable in the first day's output. It will give the superintendent a better control of his men; they will work better realizing that they are within the reach of his voice.

There are several different private telephone systems, each one having its own particular feature. The first thing to be considered in selecting a system is the number of stations you need at present and also the number you will probably need later on as your business expands. Always figure on putting in a system that allows additions to be made later.

A private telephone system with an operator's switch

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