Cabinetmakers as Moguls

Imagine a time when people never went anywhere. By that, I mean that a majority of people in an entire country, seldom went further than ten or twenty miles from where they were born. It is an astounding thought for a 21st century person.

I mention this because in 18th century England, if you were a cabinetmaker, you not only had to be good, but you had to be adaptable to new styles. You had to move if you were good and if you were smart, as Thomas Chippendale was, you were the first to publish a design book to advertise yourself.

I am bowled over by the magnitude of the English furniture business in the 18th century. It was not unlike the steel business in the U.S. in the 1950’s or the car business in the 60’s or the computer business in the last twenty years. You had to be good (which is why English furniture is still so great to live with because it lasts) and you had to be smart. If you were as smart as Chippendale, you made your name for all time. Donald Trump should be so lucky!

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