Document 65: From the Master Cabinetmakers to Woodworking Machinery
J. D. WALLACE AND MARGARET S. WALLACE, CHICAGO, ILL.
President, J. D. Wallace & Co. Mem. A.S.M.E. , Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.
Contributed by the Wood Industries Division and presented at the Annual Meeting, New York, December 2, 1929, of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
NOTE: Statements and opinions advanced in papers are to be understood as individual expressions of their authors, and not those of the Society.
The Medieval Carpenter-Furniture Maker
The English Master Cabinetmakers
The French Influence
Materials and Processes
Early Hand Tools
The New Era
Bentham's Planer and His Comprehensive Patent
The Newberry Bandsaw
The history of woodworking machinery from earliest times until today may be likened to a great, and complex drama of interwoven comedy and tragedy. The action opens when the first man uses a block of wood for a seat; the plot and subplots develop steadily through the Middle Ages, reaching a climax in the great industrial revolution of the eighteenth century; the conclusion is modern industrialism with its power machinery and mass production. The tragic moment-- if one wishes to call it that -- is the passing of the great English cabinetmakers.
Until about 1718 in England most work was purely manual. Machines were not used because they had not been invented. Mass production, industrialism, and capitalistic organization were unknown. The prevalent form of industrial organization was the guild, wherein master worked with his men; and men, in due course of time, all became masters.
THE CARPENTER-FURNITURE MAKER
Throughout medieval times the carpenter exercised all the functions of joiner and cabinetmaker as well as those of his own trade, for there were no specialists in those days. The carpenter who built a house made all the furniture as well; there was no one else to do it. This method was much more practicable in medieval times than it would be now, because the furniture of that time was very rude and very scant. Plain benches or stools without backs, tables, chests, and beds were practically the only articles of furniture available, even in the homes of the nobles. Those were the days when bathtubs were unknown; when floors were covered with rushes; when all the scraps from dinner were thrown under the table to the dogs. In the houses of peasants, manners were cruder and pieces of furniture fewer than in the homes of the aristocracy.
As time went on, carpenters became interested in making their work ornamental as well as useful. In the thirteenth century the introduction of Gothic architecture into England stimulated the carving of furniture. The relation between styles of architecture and of furniture has always been close. Finally civilization reached the point when men no longer wore their heavy armor while spending an evening at home. Furniture at once could be made lighter. A bench with dainty legs would be comparatively safe for an unarmed man to sit on, whereas it would undoubtedly have collapsed in splintered destruction under a full suit of mail. In the time of James I, the early fourteen hundreds, when the exquisite gentleman arrayed himself in a stuffed and padded jerkin, trunk-hosen, and doublet, furniture was stuffed and padded to match, and made increasingly elaborate.
During the first part of the seventeenth century, oak could be obtained very cheaply, for forests of oak planted by the preceding generations were coming to maturity. This gave an additional impetus to furniture making, and now pieces of furniture were added. Politics and religion had a share in furniture styles also. After the restoration of gay Charles II at the end of the seventeenth century, great popularity was given to the day bed, or sofa, a piece of furniture which the Puritans had eschewed with horror, considering it nothing short of indecent to recline in public.
With the increasing complexity of furniture, the trade passed from the hands of carpenters to a group of more specialized workmen. Thus in the eighteenth century carne the zenith of individuality in the art of furniture making. Never be-fore or since has the world produced at one time the like of the great English cabinetmakers.
THE MASTER CABINETMAKERS
Until the time of Chippendale, furniture took its style name from its period -- such as Tudor, or Jacobean, and not from its maker. Thomas Chippendale, who was born in the early seventeen hundreds and died in 1779, was the first cabinetmaker to stamp his own personality upon his products. The man had a good eye for advertising and salesmanship as well as talent in furniture making. His book "The Gentleman & Cabinet Makers Directory," was the earliest of its kind. Chippendale's special skill was in the making of chairs, though lie possessed astonishing versatility, Carving was his favorite form of decoration, and he indulged this taste lavishly on his furniture -- much of it mahogany, an admirable medium for this style of ornamentation. (See Fig. 1.)
The four brothers Adam (the Adelphi), outstanding figures from 1762 to 1792, were architects as well as designers of furniture, and both houses and furniture designed by them showed the same simple, classic influence. Two of the four brothers, Robert and James, really made the family name famous in the furniture trade. They were designers, not craftsmen, and their commissions were executed by Chippendale, Heppelwhite, and Sheraton, as well as by workmen of their own employment. The Adam style was a strictly classical one, employing straight lines, re-strained ornament, and beautiful painting and inlaying of rare woods. This was in distinct contrast to the florid, curvilinear styles of previous years. Being architects, the brothers did their finest work on cabinets, and it is for these that they are best noted. (See Fig. 2.)
A sort of halfway mark between the brothers Adam and Sheraton is found in Heppelwhite, whose designs, outlasting his life, were most popular from 1765 to 1769. Heppelwhite used curved lines more than the brothers Adam, being much influenced by the French Louis Seize style. He employed light woods, and was partial to painting and inlaying. His articles, particularly the chairs, showed, in spite of their lightness, the sturdier build typical of English furniture. (See Fig. 3.) Heppelwhite's styles were given much notice by the posthumous publication of his two books of design: The Cabinet Maker and Upholsterer's Guide and The Cabinet Makers' London Book of Prices and Designs of Cabinet Work.
Furniture designers of the last decade of the eighteenth century were dominated and guided by Thomas Sheraton. He was more a designer than a craftsman, though he was skilled in all the details of furniture making. Many of his designs reflect the style of French furniture, particularly that of Louis Seize type. Sheraton employed straight lines, graceful contours, and much inlaying and marqueterie. (See Fig. 4.) He was a classicist, but also foreshadowed the modern employment of geometrical designs for ornament. His ingenuity in the invention of double-purpose furniture is very interesting. Commodes and wash-hand stands, in a period when modern conveniences were lacking, were developed into pieces of furniture -- "used in genteel bedrooms, and were sometimes finished in a style a little elevated above their use," as Sheraton puts it. A desk is cleverly contrived so that a drawing board on it may be raised and lowered, and tilted to any angle; a Pembroke table (see Fig. 5) is fitted with a shelf ladder folding into its drawer. These and other pieces of furniture make interesting his remarkable book of designs, "The Cabinet Maker and Upholsterer's Drawing Book -- the Whole Embellished with 122 Elegant Copper Plates." It may be said that furniture-design books of that century were all, excepting that of the brothers Adam, the work of practical cabinetmakers.
THE FRENCH INFLUENCE
Throughout the eighteenth century English cabinetmakers derived inspiration from the French, the three noteworthy styles of French furniture at that time being the Louis Quatorze, from 1643 to 1715; the Louis Quinze, from 1715 to 1774; and the Louis Seize, from 1774 to 1793. The Louis Quatorze style (see Fig. 0) was rectilinear, but gorgeously ornamented to fit the character of the "Roi Soleil," as he was called. The Louis Quinze style (see Fig. 7) was more graceful and much less formal, employing a florid, curvilinear structure. A reversion to classical, extreme lightness and elegance, and the continued use of gorgeous upholstering fabrics characterized the elegant, Louis Seize furniture. (See Fig. 8.) Under Louis XIV a very popular form of decoration was Boulle work, an inlay of tortoise shell and metal over a ground of painted wood. Chippendale and Sheraton in particular were influenced by the French, but these English designers Anglicized, as well as copied, the French ideas, so that the product was truly English.
Practically all the work of these great cabinetmakers was executed by hand tools, the total output of each designer being comparatively small. It was not until the very end of the eighteenth century, when the time of the great masters was almost ended, that power woodworking machines were invented, and it was still later before they were commonly used.
MATERIALS AND PROCESSES
In spite of the handicaps imposed on them by the lack of machinery, the master cabinetmakers were eminently skilled in many processes. Carving, turning, gilding, lacquering, veneering, painting, japanning, inlaying, marqueterie, and fretting were used during the eighteenth century. Veneering, practiced in early times by the Greeks, had been rediscovered in the Middle Ages by Filippo Brunelleschi, an Italian. In 1565 the first veneer mill was set up at Augsburg in Germany by a man named Renner.
Varnish mixed with oil had begun to be used in the sixteenth century, while a manufactory of varnishes -- in imitation of the Oriental products -- was set up in Brunswick, England, in 1765. Canework was known and used in late Stuart times, and during the William and Mary period (1688 -- 1702) until the Dutch influence overwhelmed it, that is, throughout the seventeenth cen tury. Under Sheraton, canework returned to vogue, frequently being used in company with satinwood and japanned surfaces. A number of polishing methods were used. A list of prices published in 1788 shows that the cost of polishing the outside of an article with hard wax was twice that of oil polishing; while polishing with turpentine and wax cost half again as much as the oil polishing. Decorative processes were naturally dependent on the woods then obtainable for furniture making.
Discovery and exploration of the New World during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries opened new fields to trade and commerce, and brought many new and valuable woods to England. From 1500 to 1660 oak was the predominant wood, while deal and chestnut were rare and valuable at that time. Walnut was not grown in England until the beginning of the sixteenth century, and was then much esteemed because of its rarity. Mahogany, first noticed for its hardness and durability by a carpenter on Sir Walter Raleigh's ship in 1595, was brought to England and used extensively during the eighteenth century. Much of it came from the West Indies, Jamaica alone exporting 521,300 ft. in 1753, During the eighteenth century many other light and rare woods were used in smaller quantities, among which may be mentioned satinwood, rosewood, amboyna wood, tulipwood, holly, thula, kingwood, and ebony.
EARLY HAND TOOLS
Tools employed in furniture making were hand tools. Under Chippendale the beautiful decoration of chair backs and legs was done with the carver's chisel. During the Heppelwbite period, grooving and reeding planes came into use. The legs of chairs, if not left quite plain and square, or simply turned, were ornamented by the use of these planes. Sheraton, in his drawing book, mentions the center bit, the sash saw, and the plane. He was an experienced craftsman, and here and there in his book inserts bits of helpful information about tools to be improvised.
Thus he gives instructions, in making a door, " for working the astragals (molding or beading) on the edge; which may easily be done, by forming a neat astragal in a piece of soft steel, and fixing it in a notched piece of wood and then work it as a gauge..." Typical hand tools available during that period are illustrated in Figs. 9-13, reproduced by courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum of London. Tools in this collection, while dated as far back as 1894, are not the earliest examples known, but are representative of those in general use during the eighteenth century.
THE NEW ERA
All this time, until the end of the eighteenth century, the action of the drama had boon rising to a climax which came with the Industrial Revolution, when inventions of modern machinery were made in rapid succession.
The tool, removed from the hand of the craftsman and guided instead by some mechanism having a prearranged motion, ceased to be a tool and became a machine. The modern machine is threefold; it consists of the motor mechanism, the transmitting mechanism, and the tool or working element. Such machinery makes possible the use of greater motive force, and greater exactitude iii its application.
These developments would seem to offer great advantages, and although one would not expect an ignorant people fully to appreciate them it is rather surprising to known that in 1663, when a Dutchman erected the first sawmill near London, it was attacked by a mob and had to be abandoned because of public disapproval. Even as late as 1768, another sawmill started by James Stansfield was attacked and caused to be abandoned; though in other parts of England mills were started and run successfully by Stansfield with the aid of the government.
These were all wind-power mills with jigsaws, until in the year 1777 one Samuel Miller patented a sawmill using a circular blade.
Up to that time inventive progress in woodworking machinery was comparatively slow, but at the end of the eighteenth century there arose a remarkable man, Sir Samuel Bentham, who within a few years invented and patented almost every known variety of woodworking machine.
His father was wealthy and sent him to Westminster School in London, where he completed his studies in 1770. Thereafter he was apprenticed for seven years to the master shipwright of Woolwich dockyard. Isis apprenticeship served, he spent eighteen months visiting other dockyards, and in 1779 was sent by his government to tour the northern part of Europe, examining the shipbuilding and other arts. In Russia he stayed for some time as a naval engineer, holding, in 1785, the rank of colonel in the Russian army. Here he devised a plan for the central inspection of his Russian shipwrights, a method afterward suggested as a, means of supervising convicts. Shortly after 1779, while still on his tour, Bentham invented the first planing machine for wood that really could be called an organized operating machine. The one patented in England in 1776, by Hatton (see Fig. 14), is almost too crude to be considered.
In 1791 Bentham returned to England,' where later he became brigadier-general and inspector-general of the naval works of England. Here he found his brother, Jeremy Bentham (the famous writer on political economy) in charge of a number of industrial prisons, containing ignorant convicts who must nevertheless be put to profitable work. Apparently they were in-capable of doing handwork in wood, but perhaps they might be able to run a simple machine; thus reasoned Sir Samuel. He therefore devised a. large number of woodworking machines for use in these prisons. The residence of Jeremy, at Queen's Square Place, Westminster (now a part of London), was in 1791 made into the first manufactory of woodcutting machines. In the Bentham factory were made machines for planing, molding, rebating, grooving, mortising, sawing -- in coarse and fine woods. in curved, winding, and transverse directions -- and shaping wood in all sorts of complicated forms. They even made a machine which could make a highly finished window sash, and another which could make an ornamental carriage wheel, both items finished except for assembling.
THE BENTHAM PLANER
Sir Samuel's inventive genius was inexhaustible. In 1791 he issued his first recorded patent, for a planing machine, which was in principle an enormous handplane with elaborate mechanisms for passing it forward and hack along the stock. Bentham described the essence of the invention as a
"method of planing divesting the operation of skill previously necessary, and a reduction of brute force employed."
No drawings are included with Bentham's inventions for his stated reason that
"they tend to confine the attention to a particular mode, whereas words cover the construction in a general way."
It is interesting to note that the British Patent Office of that day sanctioned the omission of drawings.
In the Bentham planer the bit or knife is as wide as the stock to be planed; the board is laid on a bench longer than itself; "cheeks" extend down over the sides of the knives; and the ends of the plane are rounded to rise up on the board. As the cut is started, a movable weight is pressed down on the front end of the plane, being shifted to the rear as the stroke is finished, while means are provided to raise the knife on the return stroke. A compound bench to support warped boards at the middle and two sides, and multiple bits to take successive cuts with one pass, are proposed. The suggested motive power is "wind, water, steam, or animal strength."
This planer, merely a development of Hatton's idea, was hardly prophetic of Bentham's following inventions, comprising British Patent No. 1951, issued in the year 1793. Pew men have had the honor to cover their chosen industry so thoroughly with patents as did Bentham with this single application. In one all-inclusive document he originated, with broad claims, practically every woodworking machine and process that is in use today. The eleven sections of the patent, each describing a machine or process in general terms and without drawings, are worthy of detailed mention.
THE COMPREHENSIVE BENTHAM PATENT
SECTION I. "Formations of Laminated Wood from Shavings." The shavings referred to are veneers, out by the Bentham planer of 1791. This claim describes the first plywood panels, with additional specifications for winding veneers spirally on mandrels to make hollow tubes.
SECTION II. "Sawing by Reciprocate Motion." This section describes a vertically reciprocating saw, with means to handle stock for curves as well as straight cuts -- the first jigsaw.
SECTION III. "Working by a Reciprocate Lathe." In this device the work, instead of the "jigsaw blade," is put in the reciprocating frame, and any shape produced by holding a tool against the work. As Bentham frequently refers to the use of this machine for working metals as well as wood, this claim easily covers the present-day metal-working planer.
SECTION IV. "Giving Curvature by Bending." Bentham here states that bending wood by wetting has been practiced from time immemorial, but claims originality for his specified process of building up a thick section in thin plies, making it easier to bend.
SECTION V. "Working by Rotative Motion of Tool." This is a notable section covering every circular-saw table, molder, or shaper in use today. Bentham describes saw tables with either blade or table tilting; describes the present-day cross-cut and rip fences; specifies driving the saw spindle by either belt or gear; gives methods of cutting wedges with a circular saw; describes the use of wide cutters instead of a saw blade; provides for adjustment of a spindle vertically with the table for shaper work; describes the production of moldings; describes both solid and inserted-knife cylinders; and suggests the use of wide rotating cutters in place of his 1791 planer.
SECTION VI. "Boring." This section includes details of core or plug boring, double-end drilling machines for boring long loge, and multiple-spindle drills.
SECTION VII. "Mortising." Machines described in this section mortise with a rotating and traversing bit with a flat end. The blind mortises are squared at the ends with a stamping chisel; and through, or "pervious," mortises are squared either with a square rasp or a "rasping punch," which is in reality a modern broach, the section progressing from round to square.
SECTION VIII. "Turning in a Lathe." Herein are described methods of reproducing irregular shapes by means of a form for grinding the tool in a lathe.
SECTION IX. "Adjustment and Steadiment." This section gives practical methods of adjusting and holding work to saws and cutters of all machines.
SECTION X. "Advancement." This section broadly covers all methods of moving stock in contact with cutters, or vice versa. It describes the use of gearing connected with a rotative cutter for advancing the stock, long feed screws, gear and rack feeds, and the use of weights or springs.
SECTION XI. "Clearance." Here are methods of removing chips or abraded matter from saw teeth or cutters, such as using air to blow away chips, or having brushes to pass through the teeth of the saw.
Finally Bentham states that the above-described methods are
"the fruit of my own invention matured more or less by my own practice."
He suggests in addition to the well-known motive power, the installation of his machines in a carriage, if not too bulky,THE NEWBERRY BANDSAW
"deriving the power from the wheels on which the carriage runs, in this way, besides the advantage of portability, the power of horses or other beasts of draught may be applied at an expense less than that of erecting a horse mill."
Thus in one stroke did Bentham blanket the woodworking industries, leaving unmentioned only the scroll bandsaw, which was invented in 1808 by another Englishman, William Newberry. (See Fig. 15.) It is worthy of note, however, that the bandsaw did not come into general use for nearly fifty years, when in 1855 M. Perin, of Paris, France, exhibited at the French International Exhibition a bandsaw with greatly improved blades, capable of delivering a reasonable amount of service before breakage. By this time none of the great cabinetmakers were living. They made their beautiful furniture during the eighteenth century, before power woodworking machinery was known or used. Even when Bentham made his machines it is probable that they were not much used by cabinetmakers, for they were rough, heavy machines, more suitable for cutting ship timbers than fine pieces of furniture. It must be remembered that Sir Samuel Bentham was a naval engineer, not a cabinetmaker. There is no record that any of the great cabinetmakers ever invented or made power woodworking machinery, though many of them as Chippendale and Heppelwhite, were practical craftsmen.
During the seventeenth century the use of hand woodworking tools had reached the zenith of development. Along background of experience enabled men to wield their hand tools with the skill of the artist, and to produce works of art in wood. The care expended on.eacb piece was necessarily great, because it was done all by hand. Each article was executed as an individual work, not as one of a thousand similar pieces. If the cabinetmakers had employed the crude machines at their disposal toward the end of the century they probably would have produced crude, unbeautiful furniture, for men were not yet masters of the new machines.
As it was, the quiet atmosphere of preindustrialized cabinet-making gave time and opportunity for the painstaking labor of a master designer and craftsman who took personal pride in his work; whereas now much of the furniture is made by hired la-borers who are not intelligently interested in the artistry of their product. While in the old days beautiful furniture was handmade, rare, and available only for the few, today mass production has changed matters entirely. Beautiful furniture now is ma-chine made -- with greater precision, uniformity, and strength than the best of the old cabinetmakers could attain; it is abundant, and available to the great majority of people. Of the two eras, the old and the new, there are few of this generation who will hesitate, even though they may regret the passing of the old cabinetmakers, to choose modern industrial methods as best.
1565. First known veneer mill set up in Augsburg, Germany, by Renner.
1505. Mahogany first brought to England by Sir Walter Raleigh.
1683. First sawmill erected near London.
1785. Manufactory of varnishes set up in Brunswick, England.
1768. Sawmill erected in England by Stansfield.
1760. Steam engine invented by James Watt.
1603-1688. Jacobean Period.
1688-1702. William and Mary Period.
1643-1715. Louis XIV Period.
1702-1750. Queen Anne Period.
1715-1774. Louis XV Period.
1740-1780. Chippendale Style.
1762-1705. Adam Style.
1785-1795. Heppelwhite Style.
1774-1703. Louis XVI Period.
1780-1808. Sheraton Style.
1776. First planer patented by Hatton.
1777. Sawmill with circular blade patented by Miller.
1791. First manufactory of woodworking machinery set up in London by Bentham. Improved planer patented.
1703. Bentham's patent covering many woodworking machines.
1808. Bandsaw patented by Newberry.
Bale, M. Powis, "Woodworking Machinery," London, 1914.
Bentham, Samuel, "Machinery for Cutting and Planing Wood," British Patent No. 1838, year 1701.
Bentham, Samuel, "Methods of, and Machinery and Apparatus for Working Wood, Metal, and Other Materials," British Patent No. 1051, year 1703. 40 pages specifications.
Bell, J. Munro, "The Furniture Designs of George Heppelwhite," London, 1010.
Collar, George, "An Industrial and Social History of England," London, etc.
Eberlein, II. D., and McClure, Abbott, "The Practical Book of Period Furniture," Philadelphia, 1914.
Gibbins, H. do B., "Industry in England," Now York, 1807.
Hatton, Leonard, "Planing Machine," British Patent No. 1125, year 1770. Specifications and diagrams.
Hobson, John A., "The Evolution of Modern Capitalism," New York, 1917.
Holland, T. E., "Bentham, Jeremy," in Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, 1910.
"Mahogany," in Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, 1910.
Macquoid, Percy, "A History of English Furniture," London, 1904.
Miller, Samuel, "Sawing Machine," British Patent No. 1152, year 1777. Specifications -- no diagram.
Newberry, Wm., "Machinery for Sawing Wood, Splitting and Paring Skins, Etc.," British Patent No. 3105, year 1808. Specifications and diagram.
Reviers-Hopkins, A. E., "Little Books About Old Furniture," vol. IV: The Sheraton Period.
Richards, J., "Woodworking Machines," London, New York, 1872.
Sheraton, Thomas, "The Cabinet-Makers and Upholsterers' Drawing Book," London, 1705.
Yeats, John, "The Technical History of Commerce," London, 1871.
Dr. Henry C. Mercer, President, Bucks County Historical Society, Doylestown, Pa.
As to the dead leveling by hand tools before machinery, among the chief agents of this were:
(A) The long jointer plane. We find on broadaxe-hewn ceiling beams or on dazed-surface furniture, also on the war clubs, oars, etc. of primitive peoples, dugout canoes, Anglo American bowls, spoons, paddles, etc. made with the draw knife (straight bladed or scooped), what might be called the "hills and valleys" of a waved surface, showing a gentle play of light and shadow, as observed by the sculptor on human flesh. Subsequent polishing or smoothing does not obliterate these wavings, but the long jointer plane, reducing the surface to a dead level, effaces them. Compare most interior walls of newly built houses today, spoiled by dead leveling with the plasterer's float, 5 to 6 ft. long, which no amount of subsequent "brooming" will cure.
(B) The broad-bladed hand saw, or pit saw. This will also super-level a wood surface, whereas the old thin-bladed saw, or still thinner-bladed bow saw, if not worked too accurately would not do this.
(C) The turning lathe. This would least of all take the life out of a piece of old woodwork, because the turner might neglect his calipers, and so vary the size and interspacing of his swells, or his lathe may be inaccurate and wabble. This latter alleged defect, in the writer's opinion, gives vitality to the Arab turnings of window lattices, etc. The writers of the seventeenth and eighteenth century, oblivious to this fact, strove for ac-curacy, and despised a wabbling lathe. A comparison between the retouched and not retouched earthenware of the past easily proves that the porcelain of Sevres and the wares of Japan, China, and ancient Greece have been blighted by what is known, but very rarely described, as dry-lathe turning.
Polishing or smoothing, as frequently practiced by primitive peoples and medieval woodworkers, still leaves the "hills and valleys" and has nothing to do with dead leveling.
As to the accuracy of the compass, the square, the gauge, and the calipers, a very great charm at once appears when these tools are not used carefully and when, as often occurs in China, corners, distances, centers, and circles are guessed at by eye. Compare the colored plates made by accurate metal workers for Shaw's "Book of Tiles," where in the tile patterns (supposed to be represented, but falsified) the mechanics made the right side of a pattern duplicate the left. Then look at the original tiles in the British Museum which show that the monks made their designs by eye.
The art of the craftsman should be adapted to the raw material worked upon. The law of all wood is a more or less straight grain. Heppelwhite, Sheraton, Chippendale, eta. violated this law by clangorously cutting and deeply notching across the grain. Such carvers as Grinling Gibbons went beyond all reason by producing projections which look as if they would blow away if breathed upon. The medieval craftsmen carved close, and their work at once belittles the wood silhouettes of Chippendale and his school.
The foregoing defects appearing in the hand-made woodwork of the eighteenth century were all exaggerated by the machines of the industrial revolution now in use. One chair by Heppelwhite, too accurate individually, might vary somewhat in a second chair of the same type, whereas now a thousand chairs would be exactly alike. Nothing here said is meant to belittle machinery in its proper place. But the plane of a machine is not in the field of art. If a piece of furniture is a work of art, we have not yet realized that no work of art can be made by a machine.
THOMAS D. Perry, Works Manager, New Albany Veneering Company, New Albany, Ind. Member: A.S.M.E.
In their researches did the authors come upon a number of illustrations of woodworkingmachinery, man-power, horsepower and water-power, published in the Theatrum Machinarium Novum in Nuremburg in 1662? These were evidently ideals of the author rather than actual examples of practice.