Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Furniture of the Future: Victorian New York's Most Visionary Designer Loved His Machines

quote [ Whhen George Jakob Hunzinger patented his first piece of furniture in December of 1860, the United States was on the brink of a devastating Civil War. Amid the growing pressures of industrialization, the country was split between those in favor of an old-fashioned business model—dependent on slavery—and those betting on a more diversified, innovative economy. ]
[SFW] [people] [+1 Interesting]
[by ScoobySnacks@12:03amGMT]


midden said[2] @ 12:52pm GMT on 13th Jun
I've had the pleasure of restoring a few Hunzinger pieces. He took the Eastlake approach to early machine manufactured furniture and went in another direction. Eastlake modified existing design principles to accommodate mass production, but Hunzinger explored the possibilities of inexpensively mass produced parts and details that would have otherwise made his designs completely impractical for any but the elite.

(begin tangent)
Engineering wise, like a lot of early industrial furniture, Hunzinger pieces were pretty crappy. At that point in time they had dowel joints mechanized, but hadn't yet figured out a good way to do mortise and tenon joints, machine cut dovetails or finger joints. The closest they came for a few decades was the Knapp joint, which is basically a bunch of dowel joints in a row, except the dowel pins are cut from the end of a single board.
knapp joint

Unlike a dovetail or finger joint, when a Knapp joint fails, it's usually a pain in the ass to restore. The tops of those loops are all short grain, and it only takes a little leverage to turn them into dozens of little splinters.

On some of the finer Victorian pieces you sometimes find that majority of the work was done by machine, but certain crucial joinery was still done by hand. That disappears after a couple of decades as manufacturing techniques improved.
(end tangent)

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