Good Taste and Bad Taste in Tables, 1906

Simple is best.

That seems to be the consensus here in this well-illustrated article from the April 1906 issue of the Ladies’ Home Journal magazine. Here they seem to be making the point that furniture constructed as it was in the past – solid, dignified, with clean lines and simplicity – is the best. It’s funny to think that the modern, ornate, machine-made furniture that this author hates is the same furniture that has become our antiques today.

Vintage Tables, 1906

Here is a quote from the magazine:

Good taste in tables, as in all furniture, consists largely in sound construction. Stability and usefulness come first. Plain surfaces mean good workmanship. Carving and ornament are put into modern work to cover imperfect wood or faulty construction. The carving on old furniture was done by hand. It was a thing of real beauty and expressed the individuality of skillful designers. Today this is almost entirely done by machinery, and is often so bad in design that it actually offends the eye. Carved furniture catches dust, and of course requires care and labor to keep it in presentable condition.

Here is the complete page of illustrations. You’ll notice that the tables on the left are the ones the magazine approves of, while the ones on the right are the ones found to be offensive to look at.

Good and bad tables in 1906

So, according to this article, do you have good or bad taste?

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