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The House Journal   | November 1902

Thomas Sheraton furniture

Thomas Sheraton table and settee

An ingenious table and settee

Ingenuity in furniture is not so common nor so favoured now as at one time it was. We still find compendious pieces containing furnishing potentialities suspected from their cumbrousness if not fully realised. Jests on the subject have become so usual as to be a positive nuisance, and, indeed, the matter is not always one for jesting. But why should convertible furniture often be inferior, and seldom be favoured?

One of the greatest masters of the craft—Thomas Sheraton—understood thoroughly, and appeared to value, this branch of cabinetmaking. His folding tables, ladders, and secretaires are wonderful alike for the ingenuity they show and their skilful finish. Drawers and flaps, slides and doors, all of the most miniature, work as well to-day as when they were first made.

It is probably due to the lowering of prices, which has accompanied the development of commerce, that inventive furniture is not favoured as it should be. Cheapness, too, often means inferiority, and in this class of work inferiority spells utter failure. It is convenient, especially when space is limited, to have chairs or tables adaptable for several purposes, but if, after a short time, they refuse to work, the machinery becomes not only an eyesore, but an encumbrance.

The illustration shows two pieces of furniture in the modern quaint style, and fitted with simple appliances intended somewhat to increase their usefulness. The settee has little bookshelves fitted in a space otherwise quite unused, and a ledge also to carry books or small ornaments. In the table, by a simple device, a flap is made moveable, and it is worth noting that the fact that there is a flap takes nothing from the utility of the table as such.

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