Duncan Phyfe, cabinetmaker, designed furniture just about 200 years ago. Yet his name, more than that of any other furniture maker in our history, embodies fine craftsmanship—fine American craftsmanship. His name has been whispered reverentially in art museums for decades, alongside the creators of the finest oil paintings and best porcelains. His is a legacy and a “brand” that tastemakers today would die for.
About Judith Z. Cushman HammerJudith Z. Cushman Hammer teaches history of furniture, industrial design and architecture in the Department of Technology and Environmental Design at Appalachian State University. She has also taught design history at University of North Carolina Greensboro where she served as the internship coordinator for Interior Architecture students. During a long career as a journalist and editor with business-to-business publications - among them Furniture Today, Home Accents Today, Design Today, and HFN - Cushman Hammer also lectured frequently on global market trends defining home furnishings industries. She has been a contributing writer for Victorian Homes Magazine and HomePortfolio.com. She holds a Master of Art degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago and is currently studying with the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts.
Cosmic harmony. Who could pass that up? Not Greece 2000 years ago and not America and Europe 200 years ago. Apollo was the mythological god of music and dance, and his stringed lyre was thought to represent not just artistic sensibilities but also harmony and heavenly peace, social order, and all that was rational in ancient Greece.
When we see an Apple logo on our smart phone, we don’t think fruit, we think cutting-edge devices. When we see Starbucks’ green mermaid with long wavy locks, we don’t think sea creatures, we think a cool place for cappuccinos. And when citizens of America and Europe in the 18th century saw urns, they didn’t think funerals and ashes, they thought noble simplicity, beauty, and reason.