Dictionary of the History of Furniture


The cover panel of the doric order equally used in architecture and furniture making, taking over the burdenin of the cornice.


Its well-known look gives away that previously several varnished furniture have been made from this material. Rightfully so! Freshly cut it is white, but soon turns into red. It is excellent not only for being well-workable, but even only by applying some varnish, or staining it provides a beatiful surface. It can be stained for walnut, mahagony and cherry colours. The wood itself is soft, as far as its resistance to hitting, light and heat is concerned, it hardly matches the expectations. All things considered it is still can be viewed as one of the best raw material for furniture making.


An ornamental plate on the frontal panel of doors, drawers of the furniture on a wood made from a different material (brass, porcelain, tartoise shell /Boulle technika/, bronze, etc.).

Art Deco

The style of the twenties and thirties, the last comprehensive style impacting all facets of life. So it is dominant not only on furniture, but on objects of everyday life, fashion and architecture. It is still a very popular style.

Arts and Craft

The style created at the end of the nineteenth century, refusing neo styles and mechanical production methods. Its representatives viewed machines as harmful tools. They launched trade movements, finding immense response all over the continent, where schools and associations were founded.

Ash wood

Its home is all over Europe. Can live 150-200 years. Solid, hard. First rate wood can be beautifully carved and ideal for furniture production. Often it is used instead of red oak, as its colour and fibres are quite similar. In all its characteristics, it is the best hand down. It is harder then, cherry, oak, beech and maple (not to mention poplar).

Aspen wood

Industrial wood, is not ideal for furniture production, no matter how great of a name they give it. (ex: Noble-Aspen!!) It wood is soft, has holes, tears easily, light, not long lasting. Aspen cannot be called hard wood. There are manufacturers who manufacture solid wood furniture using it, which will last about 3-5 years with its tricked owner...


Railing footing. It is varied, usually in turned and carved form.


Stone railing, or protective wall of medium height consisting of balusters.


A style that followed renaissance the response of counter-reformation, the Catholic church for the liberated human and artistic thinking characteristic of the renaissance that started to develop at the end of the sixteenth century. The style is characterized by overstrung, agitated forms, breaking the simple alignment of the renaissance, twisted coloumns, carefully elaborated spirals.


Its the native of Europe. Domestically it is mostly available in the Bakony, Pilis, Börzsöny, Mátra and Bükk. Its age is usually 80—100 years, rarely lives over 200 years. The colour of the wood is yellowish, reddish-white. Exceptionally precious wood has multiple uses in the lumber industry, furniture making and in the cartwright industry.


Its name came from, an intended mock of an "upstanding civilian" or an "upstanding Mr. Meier" as was borrowed by the poet Eipeldauer, towards his subject. In the theme of civilian lifestyle, the biedermeier style came to be known for practical, in its structure and form a simpler cleaner style.

Birch wood

Aesthetically unique solid wood. The design of its fibres is even, uniform and frilly. Can be coloured easily. Its drying is slow and is associates with a lot of shrinkage. The wood is hard and heavy. Its light, bump and heat capacity is excellent. With large area furniture, or to cover other surfaces it is ideal, even though its natural patterns are strongly outlined, through its uniformity they can heighten the effect.


A piece of furniture which can be free standing and/or be place on the wall. Its construction is simple. In all cases, this furniture only contains shelves.

Buffet table

The most essential piece in a classical dining room. To store fine china, as well as to keep prepared food, and utensals in place. The lower section has doors and drawers, a deep and wide spaced piece while the top is a narrower china cabinet piece.

Butt edge cut

A cut perpendicular to the centreline of the wood. Along the cut the bark, phloem, the rings and the pith become visible.


A piece of furniture created to hold pots and china. The first pieces were made during Gothic times.


A typical bended "ball and claw" foot design, which often ends in a claw. In the line of styles, it is first seen in the baroque style, and it is kept in the rococo as well.


Usually a decorated, colounm like, curtained formation above beds that was mostly in use from the Middle Ages to the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Cherry wood

From a fruit producing tree it is rather "cheesy" experience to make furniture. The beauty of the material, as well as the ease of which the shine comes through after polishing makes it a popular choice for furniture production.

China cabinet

We call only those pieces of furniture china cabinets, when the glass surfaces dominate the piece, the purpose of the piece is to showcase the contents inside.


A determining figure of the British rococo style is Thomas Chippendale. In his works the French rococo style ( times of Anne and George Ist) is combined with east-Asian (Chinese) influences and gothic motifs. In 1754 he published a furniture sample book, which not only heavily influenced the furniture style of the Continent, but also in the colonial British Americas.


Within the goldsmith profession it is the final work done on the metal, the engraving, scoring and polishing of finer details. In other professions, chiselling is the fine detailed work done on the outer form.


A style enjoyed from the XVIII. to the mid XIX. Century which revived the forms of antique cultures. For this time period there is characteristic form styles used: Louis-seize, Directoire, Empire, Copf (pony tail) or the British Regency styles.


Colonial or settlement. In America this style was principally used from the earliest settlers all the way up to the 1776 revolution. This style uses the popular principles of the motherland- Britain- however with local characteristics, and materials it transformed.


Short, drawer unit first created in the 17th Century.

Console table

Usually placed under a large wall mirror, leaned against the wall, half table with bowed top and richly detailed legs.


It Latin meaning: body. In the carpentry business the corpus of the furniture is the frame, or body of the piece.


Wimpled, used for curtains and for upholstery.

Drawer slider

The drawer slider or a mechanical contraption, which assures the drawer's easy pull in/out from the mainframe of the furniture.

Ejector strap

A mechanical wonder of the modern ages, in place of the classical furniture door hinges. When opening the furniture door, it "throws open" or at closing "shuts" it. It is popular in furniture making for the last twenty years. Real solid wood furniture manufacturers do not like to use them since they are an eye sore and not authentic.

Elizabethan style

The British renaissance most original style, which became distinguished during the reign of Queen Elizabeth (1558-1603). It is common for the furniture to be quite heavy, made of oak, and are richly engraved.


It is one of the Classical styles, which was made more wholesome in the times of Napoleon. In the furniture we can notice the antique styles (Greek, Roman, as well as Egyptian) markings, which were not altered or refined in any way. They like to use the combination of black, gold and red.


A multi level " desk- cabinet", where the bottom part has drawers such as a commode, while the top half has double doors, and contains shelves, small drawers, hidden drawers and compartments, and in between there is a fold down, writing flap is found.


A chiselling technology, used with solid materials (diamond, mirrors, glass plates, solid wood furniture inserts etc) borders, edges have to be chiselled for aesthetic or technological reasons (so the diamond can be inserted into the casing, etc..)


Thick wood lining, used in solid wood furniture doors and drawers.


Used in building and furniture manufacturing, ornamental decoration of ledges.

Frigyes Schulek

Was born in Budapest on November 19, 1841. In 1851 and 1852 studied in Lőcse in German. This is where he learned to appreciate real subjects. He was passionately attracted to the art of drawing. He was fascinated by the buildings of Budapest, the large scale, beautiful sights which he saw on his vacations. On holidays he worked as a construction student. In the fall of 1861 he became the student of the famous Van der Null and Friederich Schmidt in Vienna at the Academy of Fine Arts studying architecture. This is when Frigyes Schulek turned his attention towards the architecture of the middle ages. Seeing the upturn of events after the conciliation, in 1868 leaving his Vienna office decides to move back to Budapest. From March of 1870, working with his friend Imre Steindl as a teacher at the University of Technology. He has completed the plans for the area of the Matthias Church, along with the stairs leading down to the main road. Between 1880-1883 he designed the Calvinist church of Szeged, in 1895-1896 the foot of the St.Stephen statue; from 1897 the plans of the Halászbástya are in the works. In 1910 they completed the Elizabeth look out tower of János mountain which was built according to his design. The Hungarian Engineering and Architects Association, on his 70th birthday made him their honorary member. Frigyes Schulek passed away on Sept 5, 1919 in Balatonlelle.


From the 17th Century a detailed weaving technique, used to create wall coverings, furniture upholstery or pictures to be hung on the wall. Today, this technigue is only used to create wall "pictures".


Was present on the European continent for over 300 years (1200-1525). Its name was later given, as it was to mock, meaning barberian and uncivilized. This is when its most prominent representation was built, the Parisian Notre Dame. On the furniture there is a strong representation of the building elements. In this age, new pieces of furniture were introduced, such as the wardrobe (created from a chest), as well as other pieces such as buffet and credence to hold kitchen pots and pans.


Attached onto furniture doors, or drawers made from various materials in many different shapes arm, button, rod.


Furniture manufacturing fittings (straps, handles, hinges, keys, locks, etc.)


Used to attach onto inexpensive wood, an insert made of different colour and type of wood. They began using it in the Renaissance era. Not to be confused with veneer inserts.


A pared piece of wood serving to join with another piece of wood.


An style used to create an ambiance inside a given space.

Laminated furniture panel

Its low quality is great for profit maximization, for all industrial manufacturers (most prominently Swedish and Polish). The furniture created will not have true form, they are not long lasting and cannot be fixed. Its advantage, that through lamination the MDF is protected so it can withstand humidity, even water, and it is easy to clean, can be found in all colours and can be painted.

Layered board

The oldest wood based composite board. 1-3 mm thick, where sheets of wood are glued together by some synthetic adhesive. In Hungary primarily they make it out of beech and aspen, but on the market you can also find it made from birch and fir trees as well.

Linden wood

Completely uniform, practically without any patterns, light colour makes it popular. Not too hard. For its easy use it is primarily used by wood carvers. Easy to buff to a shine. Dries easy and fast. Most commonly used in window shade/blind production.


The most representative tree of Canada. Its know for its nice and even fibres. It dries slowly with a lot of changes in its shape. Its light and heat capacity is good. It is easy to stain to darker tones and over large surfaces it shows well. The harder maple ( 25% stronger then its softer version) resistance to wear is excellent. Due to its neutral look it is commonly used to cover stairs and rails.

MDF (medium density fibreboard)

Medium volume density fibreboard.

Miklós Ybl

Was born into an Austrian family on April 6, 1814 in Szekesfehervar. From 1825 he studied at Paris' Kaiser and King's Polytechnic Institution, where he excelled in drawing/art and theory. He completed his studies at the Polythechnic with honours in 1831, and began to concentrate on gaining real life experience in his field. He was an apprentice at the shop of Mihaly Pollock. With Pollock's son Agoston Pollock he entered into a joint venture and they opened up an Architectural Institute in Dorottya street in Pest. In 1845 they were commissioned to rebuild the Karoly castle in Fot, to be followed by the design of the church. This was the project which catapulted him to become famous, and became the favourite architect of Hungarian nobility. So much so, that in 1860, Szechenyi hired him to build a church on his estate at Cenk. His work is commemorated at the Muzeum boulevard's pathway, the huge rental building at 17, Bajcsy Zsilinszky st., and the National Horse Race Institute which was one of the many casualties of WWII. The Scientific Academy, he designed the furniture of the National Museum, cast iron rails for the embankment of Buda, then he designed the Chamber of deputies located at 8, Bródy Sándor st. In 1870 while Andrássy Avenue is being regulated, Ybl begins to work on what is today the University of Economics. In September of 1873 there is a tender for the designing of the Opera house, on which Miklós Ybl's work wins the honour. On September 27, 1887 on of Europe's most beautiful Opera houses opens its doors in the presence of the Royal family with Bank- Ban. Death found him on January 22, 1891.

Oak (red and white)

Both serve as a very exclusive furniture raw material. The design of the white oak is more prominent, however both are aesthetically pleasing. Solid, while steamed easily bendable, its density is one of the thickest of all types (especially white oak). Furniture, doors and windows, and flooring can be made from it. In clean format their maintenance requires more attention, their density is quite high, and more robust pieces of furniture made of oak can be used by many generations. It can be stained or painted, but left in its natural colour, with some sealant is when its the most beautiful. Due to its long drying time it is really important (no matter what its being used for) what method was used and how long it was left to dry prior to use. Its light and heat capacity is excellent.

Odon Lechner

Was born in Budapest on August 27, 1845. He studied began in downtown Budapest's real life schools then to Joseph industrial schools continuing at Berlin's Schinkel Academy. Around 1871 he opened his architectural office with Gyula Partos. They took part in designing many important common buildings. Their most important achievement is the design of the skating ring/parlour in the Varosliget, Budapest. But they were also responsible for the town of Szeged's Szecheny square's town hall built in 1882. At the same time building also in Szeged- after the town floods- the rental building called Milko on Rudolf square. The first real modern building was the Thonet building, built on Váci street (1888-1889). His last big project was the planning of the Franz Joseph Millennium Church to be built on Rezső square, its plans were already a success. Its realization was not according to his plans, as he passed away June 10, 1914.

Panel (woodchip panel)

The most widely spread furniture material globally with the main reason being its favourable pricing, easy working, light weight (usually one person is enough for cleaning, rearranging a room), environmentally friendly character.The most widely available wood is used for its manufacturing, which are glued together after grinding and mixing with binding elements, finally laminating and completing and veneering them.


It is a wall pillar which is made similar to traditional pillars, however it only stands out slightly from the wall. It is a favoured decorating element in furniture production.


British classical style, which as a leader in the first half of the XIX Century. Its name is derived from the prince of Wales, who according to tradition was the leader (regent) of the country. The characteristic of the times was the antique Greek and Roman style furniture such as the realistic copy of the klismos. This time period coincides with the French directoire and empire periods.


This style is introduced in Italy, where it not only represents a change in style, cultural, intellectual phenomena; rather it is a change affecting the whole society and every part of life. Columbus discovers America, manufacturers begin to operate, the roots of modern medicine begin to take place. One of the most well known people of this age is Leonardo Da Vinci. In art there is an emergence of perspective which adds depths to paintings. The furniture of the times show the proportions of vertical and perpendicular lines used in architecture, and there are mechanical apparatuses which are introduced such as the tympanum. It is characteristic of the decorations of the Renaissance that is stems from antique Roman culture. The achievement of the age is the Inlay. This was the style, with the support of King Matthias, through Italian craftsmen made its way to Hungary.


The style which exchanged the baroque style, it became determinative in the XVIII Century. This style increases the elegance of the baroque style by the use of more gold, ornamentation, and uses unique materials for furniture making and interior design. The achievment of the day was to scale down the large rooms, and developed more human scale rooms. The furniture also became more comfortable, practical and smaller, while at the same time the first woman furniture was made, such as the lady's vanity table, and desk. The sofa was really made for comfortable sitting. This is the first time "sitting sets" are introduced, made up of sofa, couch, chairs and tables.

Secession (Art Nouveau)

The style of the turn of the century. On furniture we come across two types of forms used. One the more movement oriented using eccentric lines, while the other simpler, using straight lines and light textured furniture.

Soft wood

Its make up is spongy, like a sponge. Its relative density is thin! Aspen, noble-aspen, linden-, willow-, spruce-, poplar-, forest- and red firs. No matter what anyone says: they are not for furniture manufacturing!

Solid wood

Its relative density is large. Its weight is heavy. Ash, beech, sycamore, elm, maple, acacia, hornbeam, yew, ebony. There is a relatively small amount of furniture being made using solid wood due to its price and environmental reasons. If a manufacturer decides to use it for furniture production, in most cases the most unassuming (aspen, noble- aspen) will be selected, which are worse then if the best quality veneers were used.


The stain ads colour to the surface of the wood, such that, its veins remain noticeable. (In case of painting the veins are covered)


Plastic ceiling or wall decorations made from plaster on the scene.

Surface treatment

In case of solid wood furniture, the surface treatment’s technological order: buffing, varnishing (painting), gloss application. If done professionally the wood protrudes and its beauty becomes more readily visible.


Veneer: Pure wood panel on a furniture board base. In a veneer furniture we are in direct contact with the pure wood, so equal care must be taken.

Walnut wood

In Hungary from the Roman times walnut was planted for its crop and valuable wood. Walnut is a very decorative wood. It is the type most often used in exclusive interior design and furniture applications. When stained it creates a special ambiance...


Only those furniture can be called wardrobe which have at least one solid wood door. Among them we identify, book-, wardrobe-, TV-, china cabinet-, buffet-, night table-, and entrance way pieces.