Date of this Version



© 1967, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


By popular definition an antique is an article one hundred or more years old. It is from the Victorian period that we have the "new antiques." The nineteenth century is considered by many authorities as a time of poor design and bad taste. However, when some of the pieces of furniture were taken from the clutter of patterns and bric-a-brac, they possess a certain charm. The furnishings reflect the ambitious people who were climbing industrially and socially. The history of furnishings in the nineteenth centory has no clear-cut pattern, but many overlapping developments and changing fashions. An industrial revolution was taking place in the United States. While men were pushing ahead in science and technology they looked backward to Greece, France and other parts of the world for inspiration in the decorative arts. The new rich went to Europe, bought or copied and adapted what they saw. The term eclectic is often used to describe the furnishings of this time. As the nineteenth century progressed the machine became more important and man's craftsmanship less. At the beginning of the century most furniture was made by cabinetmakers or home craftsmen. By the middle of the century furniture was made by steam powered machines in factories.