Virginia furniture

Virginia furniture

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Virginia furniture has a long tradition
Tradition
A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes , but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings...

, from the colonial period to today.

Colonial period



In colonial days, when cabinetmaker  Anthony Hay made furniture
Furniture
Furniture is the mass noun for the movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating and sleeping in beds, to hold objects at a convenient height for work using horizontal surfaces above the ground, or to store things...

 in Colonial Williamsburg
Colonial Williamsburg
Colonial Williamsburg is the private foundation representing the historic district of the city of Williamsburg, Virginia, USA. The district includes buildings dating from 1699 to 1780 which made colonial Virginia's capital. The capital straddled the boundary of the original shires of Virginia —...

, at least six shops catered to local tastes. As the colony grew in taste and sophistication, shops developed in other port cities such as Norfolk
Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. With a population of 242,803 as of the 2010 Census, it is Virginia's second-largest city behind neighboring Virginia Beach....

, Fredericksburg
Fredericksburg, Virginia
Fredericksburg is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia located south of Washington, D.C., and north of Richmond. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 24,286...

, Alexandria
Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of 2009, the city had a total population of 139,966. Located along the Western bank of the Potomac River, Alexandria is approximately six miles south of downtown Washington, D.C.Like the rest of northern Virginia, as well as...

 and Petersburg
Petersburg, Virginia
Petersburg is an independent city in Virginia, United States located on the Appomattox River and south of the state capital city of Richmond. The city's population was 32,420 as of 2010, predominantly of African-American ethnicity...

. For instance, in Fredericksburg alone, more than a dozen manufacturers made Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an style furniture
Furniture
Furniture is the mass noun for the movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating and sleeping in beds, to hold objects at a convenient height for work using horizontal surfaces above the ground, or to store things...

 in shops owned by cabinetmakers like Robert and Alexander Walker, James Allen and Thomas Miller. Many of these early cabinetmakers also worked at house joinery
Joinery
Joinery may refer to:* Woodworking joints or other types of mechanical joints * The work of the joiner, the fabrication and installation of fittings in buildings with materials such as wood and aluminum * In Australia and New Zealand, a joinery is also the generic term for a business which...

, making an intimate connection between the rooms and the objects in them.

Developments


Across the South
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

, furniture making flourished and Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 was no exception. During the early part of the century, most historians thought that furniture
Furniture
Furniture is the mass noun for the movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating and sleeping in beds, to hold objects at a convenient height for work using horizontal surfaces above the ground, or to store things...

 making was centered around larger Northern cities like Philadelphia and New York
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

. But in recent years, scholars and Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 historians have come to understand that in early colonial and Federal years, the state had a more vibrant furniture industry than first imagined. Styles included Chippendale
Thomas Chippendale
Thomas Chippendale was a London cabinet-maker and furniture designer in the mid-Georgian, English Rococo, and Neoclassical styles. In 1754 he published a book of his designs, titled The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Director...

, Queen Anne and vernacular
Vernacular
A vernacular is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, as opposed to a language of wider communication that is not native to the population, such as a national language or lingua franca.- Etymology :The term is not a recent one...

 styles. As Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 citizens emigrated west
West
West is a noun, adjective, or adverb indicating direction or geography.West is one of the four cardinal directions or compass points. It is the opposite of east and is perpendicular to north and south.By convention, the left side of a map is west....

 in the 19th century, Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 stylists and furniture
Furniture
Furniture is the mass noun for the movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating and sleeping in beds, to hold objects at a convenient height for work using horizontal surfaces above the ground, or to store things...

 makers took their patterns and styles with them. Not all the styles mimicked the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

; emigrants like the German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 Johannes Spitler brought their native painting
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

 and folk
Folk
The English word Folk is derived from a Germanic noun, *fulka meaning "people" or "army"...

 decorative styles to the Shenandoah Valley
Shenandoah Valley
The Shenandoah Valley is both a geographic valley and cultural region of western Virginia and West Virginia in the United States. The valley is bounded to the east by the Blue Ridge Mountains, to the west by the eastern front of the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians , to the north by the Potomac River...

.

Some companies
Company
A company is a form of business organization. It is an association or collection of individual real persons and/or other companies, who each provide some form of capital. This group has a common purpose or focus and an aim of gaining profits. This collection, group or association of persons can be...

 from the early 19th century survived. In 1830, E.A. Clore was founded. It is now one of the oldest companies in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and still makes furniture
Furniture
Furniture is the mass noun for the movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating and sleeping in beds, to hold objects at a convenient height for work using horizontal surfaces above the ground, or to store things...

 at its Madison County
Madison County, Virginia
As of the census of 2000, there were 12,520 people, 4,739 households, and 3,521 families residing in the county. The population density was 39 people per square mile . There were 5,239 housing units at an average density of 16 per square mile...

 location.

In the 19th century, a typical small town
Town
A town is a human settlement larger than a village but smaller than a city. The size a settlement must be in order to be called a "town" varies considerably in different parts of the world, so that, for example, many American "small towns" seem to British people to be no more than villages, while...

 like Waterford, Virginia
Waterford, Virginia
Waterford is an unincorporated village in the Catoctin Valley of Loudoun County, Virginia, located along Catoctin Creek. Waterford is northwest of Washington, D.C., and northwest of Leesburg...

 had a number of small manufacturers, in Waterford's case makers like John Mount, William T. Mount, and Lewis N. Hough.

Twentieth century



By the 20th century, the interest in historic preservation
Historic preservation
Historic preservation is an endeavor that seeks to preserve, conserve and protect buildings, objects, landscapes or other artifacts of historical significance...

 fostered by groups like the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities
Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities
Founded in 1889, the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities was the United States' first statewide historic preservation group. In 2003 the organization adopted the new name APVA Preservation Virginia to reflect a broader focus on statewide Preservation and in 2009 it shortened...

 meant a renewed interest in colonial styles. Companies like Biggs Furniture
Biggs Furniture
Biggs Furniture, based in Richmond, Virginia, USA, was once a leading U.S. manufacturer of colonial reproduction furniture. The company flourished in the 20th century, alongside reproductions by Colonial Williamsburg by the Kittinger Company, and other mass market reproduction brands like Ethan...

 grew out of a small antiques
Antiques
An antique is an old collectible item. It is collected or desirable because of its age , beauty, rarity, condition, utility, personal emotional connection, and/or other unique features...

 shop in Richmond into a major reproductions
Reproductions
Reproductions is a studio album of cover versions by Charlotte Martin.-Track listing:# "Angel" # "Obstacle 1" # "Constant Craving" Reproductions is a studio album of cover versions by Charlotte Martin.-Track listing:# "Angel" (Massive Attack)# "Obstacle 1" (Interpol)# "Constant Craving"...

 manufacturer that came close to rivaling Ethan Allen
Ethan Allen (furniture company)
Ethan Allen Global, Inc. is a North American furniture chain with almost 300 stores across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. It was founded in 1932 by two brothers-in-law, Nathan S...

. With the establishment of Colonial Williamsburg
Colonial Williamsburg
Colonial Williamsburg is the private foundation representing the historic district of the city of Williamsburg, Virginia, USA. The district includes buildings dating from 1699 to 1780 which made colonial Virginia's capital. The capital straddled the boundary of the original shires of Virginia —...

 in the 1930s, the interest in colonial reproductions grew, though reproductions of the Williamsburg collection sold at CW's Craft House were made by the Kittinger Company of New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

.

Through the 20th century, mass-marketed furniture
Furniture
Furniture is the mass noun for the movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating and sleeping in beds, to hold objects at a convenient height for work using horizontal surfaces above the ground, or to store things...

 prevailed, and companies like Stanley Furniture
Stanley Furniture
Stanley Furniture is an American furniture manufacturer based in Stanleytown, Henry County, Virginia, United States. It was founded in 1924 by Thomas Bahnson Stanley, who later became governor of Virginia....

, Pulaski Furniture, Rowe Furniture
Rowe Furniture
Rowe Furniture is a furniture designer and manufacturer, founded in 1946 as Rowe-Jordan Furniture Company. Established in Virginia in 1946, Rowe offers a wide range of custom styling in sofas, sectionals, chairs and ottomans, all manufactured in the United States.Currently, the Rowe Furniture...

 and Bassett Furniture
Bassett Furniture
Bassett Furniture is a furniture manufacturer headquartered in Bassett, Virginia, United States.It was founded in 1902 by John David Bassett and C.C. Bassett...

 grew into national brand
Brand
The American Marketing Association defines a brand as a "Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers."...

s. They grew around the area of Martinsville
Martinsville, Virginia
Martinsville is an independent city which is surrounded by Henry County, Virginia, United States. The population was 13,821 in 2010. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Martinsville with Henry County for statistical purposes...

, where they sometimes even formed company towns. The height of this movement came when Thomas Bahnson Stanley
Thomas Bahnson Stanley
Thomas Bahnson Stanley was an American politician, manufacturer and Holstein cattle breeder.-Early life:...

, founder of Stanley Furniture
Stanley Furniture
Stanley Furniture is an American furniture manufacturer based in Stanleytown, Henry County, Virginia, United States. It was founded in 1924 by Thomas Bahnson Stanley, who later became governor of Virginia....

, became Governor of Virginia
Governor of Virginia
The governor of Virginia serves as the chief executive of the Commonwealth of Virginia for a four-year term. The position is currently held by Republican Bob McDonnell, who was inaugurated on January 16, 2010, as the 71st governor of Virginia....

 in 1954. Many of these companies now show their wares in High Point, North Carolina
High Point, North Carolina
High Point is a city located in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina. As of 2010 the city had a total population of 104,371, according to the US Census Bureau. High Point is currently the eighth-largest municipality in North Carolina....

, the American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 city most synonymous with furniture
Furniture
Furniture is the mass noun for the movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating and sleeping in beds, to hold objects at a convenient height for work using horizontal surfaces above the ground, or to store things...

, located just south of Martinsville. With the advent of the more casual 1970s, rustic
Rustic
Rustic can refer to:*rural*pastoralIn zoology:* Rustic moths, various noctuid moths of subfamilies Hadeninae and Noctuinae, including** The Rustic, * The Rustic , a brush-footed butterfly...

 pine
Pine
Pines are trees in the genus Pinus ,in the family Pinaceae. They make up the monotypic subfamily Pinoideae. There are about 115 species of pine, although different authorities accept between 105 and 125 species.-Etymology:...

 "crate
Crate
A crate is a large shipping container, often made of wood, typically used to transport large, heavy or awkward items. A crate has a self-supporting structure, with or without sheathing. For a wooden container to be a crate, all six of its sides must be put in place to result in the rated strength...

-style" furniture became the rage, when Richmond-based This End Up led the trend by opening a store
Retailing
Retail consists of the sale of physical goods or merchandise from a fixed location, such as a department store, boutique or kiosk, or by mail, in small or individual lots for direct consumption by the purchaser. Retailing may include subordinated services, such as delivery. Purchasers may be...

 on Richmond's Strawberry Street in 1975.

Contemporary


Imports gained strength through the 1990s and early 21st century, and once dominant Virginia companies have struggled with the onslaught of Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

n imports. While not a descriptive adjective like Williamsburg, Virginia furniture is also a look, and a Virginia style of decorating has permeated the world of interior design
Interior design
Interior design describes a group of various yet related projects that involve turning an interior space into an effective setting for the range of human activities are to take place there. An interior designer is someone who conducts such projects...

. Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 natives like Nancy Lancaster
Nancy Lancaster
Nancy Lancaster was a 20th-century tastemaker and the owner of Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, an influential British decorating firm that codified what is known as the English country-house look.-Biography:...

, William Haines
William Haines
Charles William "Billy" Haines was an American film actor and interior designer. He was a star of the silent era until the 1930s, when Haines' career was cut short by MGM Studios due to his refusal to deny his homosexuality...

, Charlotte Moss and Bunny Williams
Bunny Williams
Bunny Williams grew up on a small farm in Charlottesville, Virginia. She attended Garland Junior College in Boston, which was an all woman’s school, and is now part of Simmons. After school, Bunny moved to New York City where she worked as a receptionist for Stair & Co., an English antiques...

 have had influential roles in interior design using neo-traditional and modern approaches. In addition, high-end start ups like McKinnon & Harris have created new markets in lawn
Lawn
A lawn is an area of aesthetic and recreational land planted with grasses or other durable plants, which usually are maintained at a low and consistent height. Low ornamental meadows in natural landscaping styles are a contemporary option of a lawn...

 and garden furniture
Garden furniture
Garden furniture, also called patio furniture and outdoor furniture, is a type of furniture specifically designed for outdoor use. It is typically made of weather resistant materials...

.

In recent years as imports have gained strength, companies like Kingsley Bate and Flexa
FLEXA
FLEXA may mean Fire, Lightning, EXplosion, Aircraft ....

 have located manufacturing and/or distribution facilities in Virginia because of the state's easy access ports in Hampton Roads
Hampton Roads
Hampton Roads is the name for both a body of water and the Norfolk–Virginia Beach metropolitan area which surrounds it in southeastern Virginia, United States...

. In 2008, Swedwood Danville, a subsidiary of IKEA
IKEA
IKEA is a privately held, international home products company that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture such as beds and desks, appliances and home accessories. The company is the world's largest furniture retailer...

, opened a North American manufacturing plant in Cane Creek Center near Danville, Virginia
Danville, Virginia
Danville is an independent city in Virginia, United States, bounded by Pittsylvania County, Virginia and Caswell County, North Carolina. It was the last capital of the Confederate States of America. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Danville with Pittsylvania county for...

, which employs 335 workers.