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A Guide To The Different Types Of Upholstery Stuffing Through The Ages

By: Mr Thinktank

The more traditional types of upholstery made an appearance in the beginning of the 17th century when it was fashionable for wealthier families to have luxurious pieces of furniture in their home, such as padding on chairs. The padding was, in fact, merely stuffing comprised of different materials including feathers, grass, animal hair and sawdust.  Upholstered chairs are still popular today and many antiques have had to be restored, especially fire and flood furniture restoration to bring them back to life.

This article will provide information on the different types of upholstery through the ages.

1. Algerian Fibre

Algerian fibre is a type of material sourced from palm leaves. The leaves are shredded using a shredding machine and then laid out into the sun for drying. The procedure can take several months to perform and once dried, the strands are twisted to form ropes. The natural colour of the Algerian fibre is green, but it can be dyed black for sterilisation purposes and removal of tiny mites that are found in the fibre. This type of material is one of the strongest fibres and is highly resilient against all elements.

2. Curly Black Fibre

The curly black fibre is a derivative of the coir fibre and is found between the outer skin and the hard internal shell of a coconut. Due to its flexibility, spring and strength, this type of fibre is typically utilised in doormats, mattresses and brushes. Furthermore, its dexterity and wide availability makes it a replacement for the Algerian fibre as a type of upholstery material.

3. Alva Marina

The Alva Marina material is a type of seaweed located on the southern coast of France and along the Baltic ocean coastline. It was one of the initial types of upholstery used by Victorian families; however, as time passed the seaweed dried and it became harder and more brittle. Eventually, the seaweed would change into small flakes removing the padding feature. Nowadays, it is no longer available within the commercial upholstery industry.

4. Feathers

The primary type of feather used in upholstery is a down feather, curled feathers and chopped or milled feathers. The down typically originals from geese, swans or ducks; however, swan down is not available nowadays because it is a protected species. The down feather is found as part of the undercoating of the outer feathers and because it is so soft, it is regarded as the most beneficial material used for upholstery. Some of the most popular and high-quality furniture utilise down feathers for upholstery purposes.

5. Mill Puff

Mill puff was one of the most popular materials for upholstery and bedding in the 18th century. However, as time progressed and the grade of cotton wool became inferior the product was continued to be used with the same title. When picked and collected, the mill puff cotton balls are processed passing through a gin causing the fibre to separate from the seed.

After this separation, the cotton can be used for …

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