Framed panelling had been used in ancient times, as examples found at Herculaneum testify; its reintroduction in the Burgundian Netherlands at the beginning of the 15th century was an improvement that soon spread throughout western Europe. Panelled construction solved the problem of building large surface areas, as on the front of a chest or cupboard, which before this time had been limited by the size of individual planks. These planks, usually hewn with an adz, were heavy and liable to warp and split. Panels could be cut thinner, the main strain being taken by the framework, and the furniture was therefore lighter; moreover, if the panels were not fitted too tightly in their stiles, the wood was less likely to split if it did warp. Now that it was possible to construct larger surface areas, a new range of storage furniture, cupboards and chests in particular, was developed.
Beginning of 18th century the agricultural revolution spread across Britain, Europe, and Americas. With new methods of farming and intense labour there was tremendous production of agricultural products which led to surplus in food production. This resulted in pulling down the prices and farmers prosperity increased, the farmers started to move towards rapidly expanding towns. In 1760, a second revolution got under way in Britain as industrial revolution. With the new machinery powered by coal and water, the steam engine revolutionized the manufacture of textile and eventually led to mass production of furniture and other household goods. Alongside both the revolutions was a cultural revolution known as Enlightment, a philosophical attempt to rationalize the replacement of customs, traditions, and religion with reason and natural law. It was a period of two of the most important political revolution in history, The American Revolution of 1776 against British colonial rule that led to the independence of the United States of America; and the French Revolution of 1789 that overthrew the monarchy and introduced new ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity.
The legs occasionally imitated those of animals with claw feet or hoofs, but usually they were either turned on the lathe and ornamented with moldings or cut from a flat slab of wood sharply silhouetted and decorated in various ways—with incised designs or with volutes, rosettes, and other patterns in high relief. From about the 6th century BCE, the legs projected above the couch frame; these projections became headboards and footboards, the latter eventually made lower than the headboards. In Hellenistic times headrests and footrests were carved and decorated with bronze medallions carrying busts of children, satyrs, or heads of birds and animals in high relief. Turned legs largely replaced rectangular ones. Although a bronze bed of the 2nd century BCE has been found at Priene and marble couches sometimes occur in tombs, the usual material was wood. The legs often terminated in metal feet and sometimes were encased in bronze moldings, and the rails also were sometimes covered with bronze sheathing.
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