Howard & Sons

Biography

Howard & Sons was established in 1820 and continues to be an eminent upholstery company today. The company's work expanded out of cabinet making to include, and eventually focus on, upholstery. Operating at various addresses in central London in the 1820s and '30s, John Howard finally settled at 22 Berners Street in 1848, under the title 'Cabinet Maker, Upholsterer and Decorator.' The company found great success at the International Exhibition of 1862 in the Crystal Palace, where it was awarded a prize for a suite of library furniture. Over the course of the 1860s, George Howard patented a method for veneering walls, as opposed to papering or painting, which was typically only found on parquetry. However, it was another patent made in 1866 that would define the company's future significance: the coil sprung 'Elastic Seat.' This technological advancement transformed traditional upholstery methods.

The company, now under the name Howard Chairs Ltd., continues to make chairs and sofas according to this patent. Work on cabinetry and other furniture, under the moniker Howard and Sons, ended in 1947. Howard and Sons' pieces are wont to be copied, but the originals are always marked; upholstered furniture would either have a name or number on the inside of the back foot, a paper label on the hessian, or a name stamp on the castor cup or wheel. The date of the piece can be inferred from the address on the stamp. Their work can also be detected by a preference of form for turned front legs, which tend to get more squashed the later the production date. Howard's reputation for durable and comfortable seating rightfully continues to this day.

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