Much of America exited the Victorian period and entered the 20th century with great expectations fueled by the acquired wealth and prosperity brought about by the Industrial Revolution. However, some began questioning whether the dehumanizing effects that industrialization had upon much of the working class justified the new found wealth and comforts enjoyed by those more fortunate. These individuals were a part of the Arts & Crafts movement. The Arts and Crafts movement advocated a return to the simpler life that existed prior to the Industrial Revolution. To them, modern factories and their mass production methods that fed Victorian society with material goods were degrading the quality of life of the working class. As such, the Arts and Crafts movement rejected much of the extravagantly ornamented products being churned out by the factories in favor of products developed by skilled craftsmen working in craft shops.
The change in furniture styles that existed in the Victorian period compared to those of the Arts and Crafts period provides an excellent example of the dramatic change in design that occurred at the start of the 20th century. Victorian period furniture was elaborate, delicate in design and embellished with excessive decorative details. In contrast, Arts and Crafts furniture was sturdy and simple in design. Arts and Crafts furniture, now commonly referred to as Mission style furniture, was created by craftsman using common grainy oak. Victorian period furniture favored more refined species of wood including mahogany and cherry.
As I’ve mentioned in previous blog entries on period furniture hardware, knobs and pulls shared many of the same design qualities as the furniture of the period. Arts and Crafts knobs and pulls in many ways resembled pre-industrial and even medieval hardware. Arts and Crafts furniture hardware was often made from roughly cast bronze or hand hammered copper. Arts and Crafts furniture knobs and pulls looked primitive compared to the ornate and lustrously finished brass Victorian furniture knobs and pulls.
Shop 4 Classics offers a variety of Arts and Crafts style furniture knobs and pulls. Prices of reproduction Arts and Crafts knobs and pulls vary based upon how they are constructed and materials used. Solid copper Arts and Crafts furniture hardware handcrafted by individual craftsmen are true to Arts and Crafts traditions but are understandably also the most expensive. Shop 4 Classics offers handcrafted copper furniture knobs and pulls from the artisans at Craftsmen Hardware Company. Craftsmen Hardware knobs and pulls have genuine hand hammered textures and are also finished by hand with a dark brown patina. Shop 4 Classics also offers more economical Arts & Crafts furniture hardware from the Copper Factory and Antique Revelry. Copper Factory knobs and pulls are created from sand cast copper but have faux hammered textures. Antique Revelry knobs and pulls are made of sand cast brass finished to resemble aged copper and also have faux hammered textures.