Marquetry is the art of applying pieces of veneer to a structure to form decorative patterns, designs or pictures. The technique may be applied to case furniture or even seat furniture, to decorative small objects with smooth surfaces or to freestanding pictorial panels appreciated in their own right.
The veneers used are primarily woods, but may include bone, ivory, turtle-shell, mother-of-pearl, pewter, brass or fine metals
Many exotic woods as well as common European varieties can be employed, from the near-white of boxwood to the near-black of ebony, with veneers that retain stains well, like sycamore, dyed to provide colours not found in nature.
The simplest kind of marquetry uses only two sheets of veneer, which are temporarily glued together and cut with a fine saw, producing two contrasting panels of identical design
Finishing the piece will require fine abrasive paper always backed by a sanding block. Either ordinary varnish, special varnishes, modern polyurethane -oil or water based- good waxes and even the technique of french polish are different methods used to seal and finish the piece.
A National cash register in a family-run jewellery store is still giving perfect service a century after it was made
The family has been running its jewellery business in Muncie, Indiana, since 1895. Five generations later, the glass-fronted antique cabinets and Victorian oak partners desks have been replaced by more modern retail furnishings. One important feature remains the same – the store’s ornate 100 year old cash register, which was installed in the 1920s and is still used every day.
The gleaming brass machine, with the company name displayed in ornate lettering, was made in 1912 by the National Cash Register Company of Dayton, Ohio – inventors of the first ever cash till. Totally at home in its diamond-studded environment, the machine is manually operated through punch keys and a hand-cranked side lever which, when pulled, produces the familiar “ker-ching” sound which opens the drawer. The compartments are notably larger than those of modern tills, reflecting the size of Edwardian bank notes. Another interesting point is that the maximum which can be rung up in any one transaction is $89.99 – which was worth considerably more back in 1912. The family gets around this by making a note of the difference and popping it in the drawer.
An antique till was used to humorous effect in the comedy series “Open All Hours”, but these days a museum is the most likely place to find one. However, antique dealers in Lancashire sometimes have them – just look among the antique desks and Victorian dining chairs .