Some early drawings of workshops show working conditions that seem impossibly crowded. Sometimes you will have four people working on a small bench, each doing operations that would be certain to annoy the others.
Ever tried to saw dovetails while someone is planing on your bench? Even on a stout bench, it’s not fun.
While some of these compositions are likely artistic license, overcrowded living and working conditions in the 19th century were real. In fact, collapsible campaign-style furniture was sometimes employed to convert dining rooms to sleeping quarters at night.
So take a good look at these eight guys working in a shop that is smaller than a master closet in a McMansion.
Dug up by Jeff Burks, naturally, this is an undated image of a French joinery shop that is signed “Bombled.” Jeff reports:
Louis Charles Bombled was born July 6, 1862, in Chantilly. His father was the the Dutch painter, etcher and lithographer Karel Frederik Bombled. He exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Français in Paris, where he received an honorable mention in 1885, and a gold medal at the Exposition Universelle in 1900. Bombled was known as a painter, watercolorist, draftsman and illustrator, especially of military subjects. He provided illustrations for many books and magazines, including contemporary publications “La Caricature,” “Le Chat Noir,” “L’Illustration,” etc.
— Christopher Schwarz