During the victorian era, people showed their wealth status through furniture and decoration, with rooms over crowded with furniture and ornaments, showcases new cultural interest, prosperity, and to demonstrate that bareness in a room was a sign of poor taste and low social status.
With the increased demand for furniture and the start of the industrial revolution, machine made furniture replaced the handmade. The factories changed drastically; designers no longer had contact with craftsmen, items were being manufactured at a fast pace, and as a result of the high demand furniture lost its quality to the mass production.
New machines were introduced, and soon took over most of the work and the furniture was designed around what the machine could make, limiting design ideas. Many machines were horse driven, water driven or man powered, and circular saws,planers and band saws were introduced.
In the 1830’s, new machines were invented to cut designs which would have normally been carved, and the rise of transportation meant a large variety of materials and timbers could be imported, stretching the design possibilities.
Most victorian furniture was a reproduction of something from an earlier period, such as medieval styles, georgian and elizabethan furniture, renaissance, and the gothical style. Characteristics included curvaceous ornament, scrolled borders, cabriole legs, and a great emphasis on surface decoration.