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|Title: ||Vernacular craft to machine assisted industry: the division of labour and the development of machine use in vernacular chair-making in High Wycombe 1870-1920|
|Authors: ||Edwards, Clive|
|Issue Date: ||2009|
|Publisher: ||© Stichting Ebenist|
|Citation: ||EDWARDS, C., 2009. Vernacular craft to machine assisted industry: the division of labour and the development of machine use in vernacular chair-making in High Wycombe 1870-1920. Vernacular Furniture: Context, Form, Analysis. Proceedings of the 9th International Symposium on Wood and Furniture Conservation, Amsterdam, 14-15 November 2008, pp. 91 - 102|
|Abstract: ||This paper explores the changes in vernacular1 chair-making in High Wycombe, UK, in the
period 1870-1920. High Wycombe was once known as the chair-making capital of Britain,
its fame initially coming from the vernacular ‘Windsor’ type chairs that were made in the
locality, and then developing into a fully-fledged industry. This production was mainly based
on the utilization of the extensive beech woods colloquially called ‘the Buckinghamshire
weed’ that grew in this area of southern England.
During the period reviewed, the chair-making industry of High Wycombe changed
from being a mix of ‘bodgers’2 working directly in the beech woods and selling their turned
parts to chair-makers, through various business organisations to fully developed factory
based operations with specialised machines to assist each operation of chair-making.
The paper will start with a brief background and history of the pre-machine situation
and its divisions of labour. It will then follow with a discussion about the original chairmakers.
This is followed by analysis of the trade of chair-making and the sub-divided
processes therein. Built on this are analyses of the changes in tools to machines and the
nature of the machine-assisted production systems used up to c. 1920 and the factory system.
A brief discussion about the nature of distribution will be followed by an evaluation of the
contribution made by High Wycombe chair-makers to the maintenance of a vernacular
|Description: ||This is a conference paper.|
|Version: ||Accepted for publication|
|Appears in Collections:||Conference Papers and Contributions (Arts)|
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