During the 19th century, worldwide furniture design was not dominated by one main style, but rather an eclectic mix of many choices, namely looking back to earlier styles for inspiration.
In England, 19th century taste in furniture was reserved, with simple designs on Sheraton and Chippendale being the more popular styles that people looked towards. Emphasis on rectangular forms and flat-surface decoration was preferred, as can be seen on the 19th century dining chairspictured right.
The growing and increasingly prosperous middle class now built or bought larger houses to not only accommodate their large families, but also as outward symbols of their newly prominent position in society.
They then sought advice on how best to furnish their houses. Interior designers as we know them today did not exist, but there were any number of women and men who contributed articles to fashionable periodicals and published books. In these articles, they gave advice on how to arrange the house in a tasteful manner.
Due to this increasing demand for furniture, furniture makers had to adopt mass-production techniques, and took advantage of new manufacturing innovations. The first was a wood-carving machine, which was patented by English inventor Thomas Jordan in 1847.