The History of Modern Furniture

It was in the 19th century after the industrial revolution had given birth to a new class of people that modernistic ideas evolved. The traditional dark, gilded or carved wood, covered with heavy richly patterned fabrics cave way to light and simple looking furniture. Between the nobility and the down trodden poor the middle class had emerged.

They cast aside anything that was related to the rich who had trampled the poor ruthlessly. Also influences from Africa, Asia and especially Japan had a lasting effect on designing of modern furniture. Functionality, practicality and economic feasibility were the new order in furniture. Technology and industrial advancement were already playing their role in making of simplistic yet practical furniture.

Michael Thonet an Austrian German cabinet maker was the first to experiment in making bent wood furniture and using glue for joining wood pieces. His coffee shop chair also known as 'Konsumstuhl Nr 14' became world famous and till 1930 over 50 million of these chairs were produced. Another famous chair of that era was the 'Tripolina chair'. It was made of wood, metal and canvas and was patented by Joseph Fendy in 1877. This chair was widely used by the British troops during the colonial period. The director's chair is a simple folding chair that uses a scissor action to fold and is made of wood and canvas, or any other strong material that can bear the weight of the occupant. The design of this chair dates back to the 15th century and the design has been taken from ancient Roman folding stools.

Some of the iconic examples of modern furniture are the Marcel Breur's Wassily chair. This chair uses lightweight tubular steel and leather straps. The exquisite and simplistic design of these geometric shaped planes almost makes the leather straps appear to be suspended in space. The Ellen Gray side table, the Barcelona chair and Noguchi table are some of the other icons of modern furniture.

Modern furniture is functional, practical and tastefully designed to give a feeling of comfort and lightness. It differs completely from the dark and heavily embroidered medieval furniture. Metals, plastics, glass are now used along with wood in making modern furniture and a whole new generation of fabrics and colors are used. The fabrics used are of bold and bright colors which make modern furniture look inviting and artistic. Contemporary furniture has taken many forms and shapes and furniture designers use geometric patterns to create modern furniture.

Most contemporary furniture is lightweight, easy to assemble and disassemble and importantly easy to maintain. Modern furniture also has an individualistic theme, designed to suit the type of décor people want for their homes and workplaces. Colors are popularly used to make a room or office appear pleasant and relaxing. Drab, dreary and heavy colors are no longer used. If a heavy color like black is used, it will be contrasted with white or shining steel. It is modern furniture that has changed the look of the home from a formal and staid place to a casual and relaxing environment.

What Does ("PID") Mean in The Real Estate Industry?

A Public Improvement District ("PID") is a financing tool created by the Public Improvement District Assessment Act as found in Chapter 372 of the Texas Local Government Code. The PID enables any city to levy and collect special assessments on property that is within the city or within the city's Extraterritorial Jurisdiction ("ETJ"). A county may also form a PID, but must obtain approval from a city if the proposed PID is within the city's ETJ. The PID establishes a mechanism to finance improvement projects through the issuance of bonds secured by special valuations levied on all benefited properties. Because PID bonds can be used to reimburse the developer for eligible infrastructure early in the development process, often before the closing of the first home.

Public Improvements Eligible for PID Financing are; Acquisition of Right of Ways, Art, Creation of pedestrian halls, Erection of foundations, Landscaping and other esthetics, Library, Mass transit, Parks & Recreational or Cultural Facilities, Parking, Street and sidewalk. Supplemental safety services for the improvement of the district, including public safety and security services. Supplemental business-related services for the improvement of the district. Water, wastewater, health and sanitation or drain.

Benefits of a PID

A PID may be established early in the development process allowing the developer to be a reimbursed upon completion of the public infrastructure. Furthermore, unlike a Municipal Utility District ("MUD"), Water Control and Improvement District ("WCID"), or Fresh Water District ("FWSD"), PIDs do not require TCEQ approval, and are governed by the governing body of the City or county, thereby alleviating concerns regarding board turnover and the integrity of the board. If the city chooses to annex property that is within the boundaries of a PID, the city is not forced to pay off the assessments, and the assessments do not affect the city's debt capacity or rating.

A Guide to Help You Pick Your Next Piece of Furniture

Buying furniture does not have to be a stressful or painful activity. In fact, it can actually be a bit fun when you know how to distinguish the quality pieces from those destined for the dumpster. The following guide will hopefully demystify the inner workings and construction of furniture so you can focus on picking out the perfect color, print, and texture for your home.

Upholstered Furniture

Your furniture sets the mood, tone, and overall feel of your home just as your wardrobe conveys these same exercises about you. Upholstered furniture is perhaps the most telling sign of these characteristics as the use of color, design, and texture come into play more here than with any other type of furniture. Pieces that generally fall into the 'upholstered' category include chairs, sofas, love seats, sectionals, and sofa beds. This guide is designed to make your decision less daunting by eliminating some technical terms and giving you some insight into what lies benefit the cloths and cushions.

Woven Fabric Covers

Woven fabric means simply that the fabric is woven by a machine that interlaces two yarns running at right angles to each other. The most widely used group of decorative upholsteries sold in the United States consist of woven fabrics. These woven fabrics can be natural, such as linen and cotton, or man-made fibers like polyester and olefin. In most cases, fabrics are blends of various fibers like the popular cotton-polyester blend. The most popular types of weaves are as follows:

O Jacquard weaves are fabrics with differently colored yarns or fibers woven into highly decorative designs. These weaves are most often found in traditional furniture styles.

O Pile fabrics have loops or cut fibers standing up densely from the surface to form a three-dimensional texture. Depending on color and design, pile fabrics can be suitable for traditional or contemporary furniture.

O Textured fabrics are woven from yarns that have been processed to give them more bulk, crimp, stretch, or otherwise altered. Chenille is an example of a very popular textured weave. Textured fabrics are often woven to resembble antique, homespun cloth.

O Plain-woven fabrics consist of one color with their character resulting from the type of yarn or fiber used. Depending on the texture, plain weaves can be used on formal or informal furniture and with a variety of styles.

O Printed fabrics are first woven and then printed with a decorative design. Chintz and polished cotton are examples of fabrics that are often used for prints, although textured fabrics with blends of nylon, rayon, cotton, and polyester fibers are also often printed.

Non-Woven Fabric Covers

Non-woven fabrics are produced by the bonding and or interlocking of fibers. These fabrics can be made by mechanical, chemical, thermal, or solvent means, or with an adhesive, or any combination of these. Examples of non-woven fabrics include:

O Vinyl , which may or may not be laminated to a fabric backing. Vinyls are preferred on furniture that is subject to hard usage. Also called Naugahyde®, vinyl is often thought of as a substitute for leather, and can be printed in a variety of patterns.

O Flocked fabrics are made by gluing pieces of cut fibers onto a flat woven cloth base. These fibers form a three-dimensional surface much like pile. Flocked velvet is an example of this kind of fabric.

O Knitted fabrics are made by interlooping one or more sets of yarns. This is a reliably inexpensive way of manufacturing fabric.

O Suede-like fabrics , such as Ultrasuede® are often used in decorative upholstered furniture covers to give the look and feel of genuine suede, without using animal hides and usually at less cost.

Inner Construction

The construction and inner workings of an upholstered piece of furniture can be as mysterious as an episode of Murder, She Wrote (ask your Grandma). But hidden under the decorative fabric or cover lies the secret to the piece's overall function, comfort, and longevity. No need to call Angela Lansbury in order to solve this case, read on as we forget what makes your chair or sofa tick.

The frame is the single most important component in determining whether or not a piece of furniture is going to stand the test of time. You probably figured wood as being the most commonly used frame material, and this, of course, is true. But any old hunk of tree will not due if you plan on passing this wonderful chair, sofa, love seat, or whatever on to your children or grandchildren (they'll probably just put it in storage or sell it at a yard sale anyway ). Hardwoods, such as oak, alder, ash, beech and birch are what you're looking for in a frame. These hardwoods have a tighter grain and allow for screws, pegs, and nails to be set securely. Also, the best-made frames use wood that has been kiln-dried . This process consist of heating the wood in an industrial oven to remove excess sap and moisture. The process also makes the wood resistant to absorbing any outside moisture. If you're wondering what the problem is with moisture, I'll tell you. If you already know the answer to this, then skip to the next paragraph Mr. Egypt Smarty-Pants. Moisture can cause warping and swelling, can lead to loose joints and fastenings, and in severe cases can cause mildew or rotting, other than that, it's great.

The quality of the frame depends not only on the materials used, but how they're joined and held together. To create a strong, rigid frame, a variety of woods and laminates can be used in joints and for blocking and doweling.

O Joints are places where one piece of the frame meets another. These points of intersection need to be secured and reinforced with blocks and dowels to allow the frame to hold up over time.

O Blocking reiter to placing additional 'blocks' of wood behind or diagonal to joints and corners to help relieve the stress these areas encounter. Blocks also provide lateral support and create a larger area for screws and fasteners to set wood elements securely.

O Doweling is the process of drilling into both pieces of the joint and then placing a pin, or dowel into the hole, so further connecting the two pieces and adding extra support.

A quality chair or sofa will employ some type of inner spring system, usually in the back as well as the seat area. These systems add comfort, as you might expect, but they also work to take some of the stress off the joints of the frame. Here are some of the spring systems being used:

O The coil or cone spring system uses eight-way, hand-tied double cone springs to provide extra comfort and support. This technique involves fastening the cone springs tightly to the base and expertly tying their tops together with a strong cord. This is the only system that allows for side-to-side movement in addition to up and down movement. Hand-crafted quality comes at a price, though, and while this is widely considered the best spring system, it is also the most expensive.

O The sinuous wire spring is made in a continuous zigzag or "S" shape. These wires run parallel to each other and are quickly directly to the frame and to each other. Similar to this system is the formed wire spring, where the continuous wire is formed into rectangular bends and angles instead of the zigzag pattern.

O The grid suspension system is composed of a wire grid, sometimes covered with paper or plastic-coated wire, which has one side fastened directly to the frame. The other side is connected to the frame by helical springs.

O Some manufacturers use elastic webbing instead of wire springs. The strips of elastic usually intersect and weave together and are fastened directly to the frame. It is best to avoid furniture that uses this technique.

Arm yourself with this knowledge and make a more informed choice the next time you purchase furniture.

Why Use Software to Catalog Your Antiques?

Collectors invest much of our time and resources into collecting valuable antiques and other collectibles yet we do not take the time to adequately catalog them. Yes, it takes time to carefully document what we have collected but the benefits will outweigh the costs for many of us.

Like many people my age I grow up with antiques. As a poor boy on a small farm I was surrounded by antiques but did not recognize them as such. They were our tools, our furniture, our farm implements, our means of transportation and even some of our toys. I was surrounded by antiques but they were just an every-day part of living.

As a grown up I wish I still had some of these every-day items from my youth. Today they are worth so much more than I could have imagined back then. These days I spend much of my time searching various on-line forums and auctions searching for items from my youth as well as other antiques. As a result I have built small collections of various categories of specialty antiques.

For many years I relied on my memory and scanned written notes and receipts to track my inventory. As time went by I began to forget what I had and would sometimes catch myself considering the purchase of an item that I already had. Sometimes I would consider an item at a local show and wonder if the one I already had like it at home was in better or worse condition than the one I was looking at. Without a description or, even better, a set of pictures it was very difficult for me to know for sure. This lack of information at my fingertips ruled in some purchases I probably should have made and passing on items that I should have purchased to improve my collection.

Other times I would join in a discussion with a fellow collector of like interests and try to describe an item I had only to realize that I was unable to recall some key aspect of it that would be of interest and worth sharing. In a similar manner, when visiting with friends or family and the topic of my collecting interests would come up, I was unable to help them to fully appreciate items in my collection and the value of collecting them.

I am sure many of my fellow collectors share similar experiences and sentiments. These days, with all of the technology available to us, we no longer have to be limited by lack of key information at our fingertips. There are many computer programs available to help us catalog our collections so that we no longer have to rely solely on our memories and scattered notes and receipts. They enable us to electronically track key information about items in our collections as well as detailed pictures and even scans of our receipts and other written materials associated with each item.

Although without this software we could keep detailed hand-written manuscripts describing any and all aspect of our collections that was of interest to us, it is much more difficult to change hand-written records than it is to change electronic records. We might want to update our records and descriptions as we learn more about our items. For me, this meant throwing away my previous writing and rewriting my notes from scratch in order to incorporate important changes to what I had written before. With software, these changes become trivial.

Also, with software, we can much more easily retrieve information electronically that we ever could from hand-written records. In many software packages this information can actually be manipulated, accumulated, organized, and re-organized however we like. Not only can your organize your data how you want, you can gather and accumulate valuable statistics such as total cost, total value, appraised value, current value and more.

With some of the more flexible packages we can even modify what data we collect to suit our individual needs and preferences rather than what someone else thinks we should track. Even better packages allow you to manage multiple collections in one package or run multiple copies of the software, one for each collection.

Some cataloging software can be run directly off USB flash drives or other removable media without installation on the computer that they are running on. This provides the advantage of being able to take your collection everywhere to show others on their computer without lugging a computer around with you. When your collection resides on a USB Flash Drive, or other removable media, you can also secure it without leaving it vulnerable on your computer.

Today's mobile apps open up a whole new realm when it comes to having information available at your fingertips for checking your collection when considering the purchase of a new item or for sharing information with others. However, with their limited keypads, it can be very difficult to manually enter information into mobile apps. On the other hand, mobile devices make it very easy to take pictures of items and include them in mobile app databases. That is why the best of both worlds is when data can be entered using a desktop or laptop computer and then downloaded to a mobile app where pictures can be easily added and then the results uploaded back into the desktop application.

The software I use runs off of a USB flash drive and allows me to manage one or more collections. With this software I can easily enter information about my antiques and other collectibles on a USB flash drive running on my desktop computer. I can then take the USB flash drive with me to share with others on their computers and lock it up for secure storage when I am done.

I can also download my collection into a companion mobile app on my Android phone to take with me anywhere. This makes it easy to bring up pictures at anytime and anywhere when visiting with others or considering the purchase of a new item to add to my collection. The android app also makes it very easy to take pictures of items in my collection. I can then upload those pictures back into the desktop application. This two-way communication allows me to take advantage of the best features in both the desktop application and the mobile app when managing and sharing items in my collections.

Although it does take time to enter data into a software application, in my opinion, the benefits collecting software provide well worth the effort.