Blanket chests created in the Mission furniture style as we know it today, derived design elements from the furniture crafted from 1900 to 1916 in Grand Rapids, New York by Gustav Stickley. His furniture style was extremely simple and solid looking and at the same time was graceful. This was in complete contrast to the bulky, overly decorative, mass produced factory furniture of the time period. Stickley had the idea that furniture should be made to last, constructed with enduring wood crafting principles. This heirloom quality furniture was to blend in with a families? decor and was to last for generations.
The first piece of ?Mission? furniture was introduced at the semiannual furniture exhibition in Grand Rapids. This was a clumsy, stick piece chair that the manufacturer said had been found at one of the Franciscan Missions in California. As a novelty item, this chair gained attention.
The public liked the romance that this piece inspired and was ready to buy available pieces even though it was poorly made. Americans ,as always, desired a product that was different and new.
This gave another clever furniture manufacturer the idea to make a small line of chairs in this style which included the addition of the Maltese Cross in its design element as a prominent feature. This addition was supposed to help people think that his chairs were actually being crafted at the Missions. He named this new line McHugh ?Mission? furniture. Even though McHugh was the originator of the name ?Mission? oak furniture, his furniture pieces were poorly designed and poorly constructed. Once the public found out just how poor the construction was, his pieces did not sell for very long.
The Mission furniture style lost its foot hold in 1916 as an item of choice and many of the manufacturers of this style were bankrupted, including Stickley.
Even so, in years to follow, the Mission furniture designed and created mainly by Gustav Stickely are the pieces that have endured to become highly sought after heirloom furniture.
Great designs in wood crafting do endure. The Mission furniture blanket chest style has proven this.
Related Furniture Articles