Other materials

Among other secondary materials in furniture making, glass has been used in the form of mirror glass or as a purely decorative, illusionistic element in cabinets and writing desks. Italian craftsmen have made glass furniture; that is, wooden furniture covered with silvered glass in various colours. Ivory and other forms of bone were used as inlay material in Egyptian furniture. During the 17th and 18th centuries, ivory was widely used for inlay work in cupboard doors and table tops and expensive Continental furniture.

Tortoiseshell was also used, as a costly inlay on a silvered ground, in furniture made during the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Mother-of-pearl has been used, particularly as inlay material and for keyhole escutcheons. Marble and, to a certain extent, plaster of Paris have been used, especially in the 18th century, for the tops of chests of drawers and console tables, and in the 19th century for the tops of washstands and dressing tables.

In Victorian England, papier-mâché (a moulding material made of paper pulped with glue and other additives) was used to make such items of furniture as fire screens, small tables and chairs, and clock cases. Finally, since World War II, various plastic materials have been used quite extensively in the construction of chairs with seats and backs moulded in one piece and provided with a metal base.

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