A brief history of Upholstery

CK Upholstery Fabric image

Upholstery is the work of providing furniture, especially seats, with padding, springs, webbing, and fabric or leather covers.

The word upholstery comes from the Middle English word upholder, which was referred to an artisan who makes fabric furnishings.

The term is equally applicable to domestic, automobile, airplane and boat furniture and can be applied to mattresses, particularly the upper layers, though these often differ significantly in design.

A person who works with upholstery is called an upholsterer. An apprentice upholsterer is sometimes called an outsider or trimmer.

Traditional upholstery uses materials like coil springs, animal hair (horse, hog and cow), coir, straw and hay, hessians, linen scrims, wadding, etc. and is done by hand, building each layer up.

In contrast, today’s upholsterers employ synthetic materials like dacron and vinyl, serpentine springs, and so on.

In 18th-century London, upholders frequently served as interior decorators responsible for all aspects of a room’s decor.

These individuals were members of the Worshipful Company of Upholders, whose traditional role, prior to the 18th century, was to provide upholstery and textiles and the fittings for funerals.

In the great London furniture-making partnerships of the 18th century, a cabinet-maker usually paired with an upholder: Vile and Cobb, Ince and Mayhew, Chippendale and Rannie.

In the US, Grand Rapids,
Michigan and Hickory, North Carolina are centers for furniture manufacture along with Long Eaton, Nottinghamshire (England) and many of the best upholsterers can still be found there.

Nottinghamshire is also home to Webs training Ltd, a furniture training company that specialises in training apprentices in the furniture manufacturing industry. These artisans continue to create or recreate many antique and modern pieces of furniture.

Furniture reupholstery continues to thrive in the UK with several businesses small and large providing these services.

And, it is in this situation that Murat Yilmaz had started working on Yachts, Boats, Hotels and private homes from the age of 14. It is from his sheer dedication and hard work that CK Upholstery was born and is now considered a standard among Upholsterers. 

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