CABINET-MAKERS who labour under the disadvantage of belonging to the sterner sex must look to their laurels. The art and mystery is invaded by the ladies, and according to a contemporary the movement in this direction is extending. Not only are the light painted articles of furniture receiving the attention of the fair workers, but carved work is also being executed by their nimble fingers, thanks chiefly to the School of Wood-Carving at South Kensington, which affords practical tuition to a large number of female pupils.
There may be nothing very serious in all this, but it is a fact not to be despised. Feminine competition is gradually affecting the labour market in all sorts of branches, and although, no doubt, a very desirable thing that our “sisters, cousins, and aunts,” should be able to earn their own living, the prospect of men standing idly by while the women do the work, is not particularly pleasing. There is no doubt that they come to many employments with great advantages, being usually more patient, more painstaking, and defter in manual occupations requiring great nicety of touch. Consequently their male coworkers must endeavour to foster these characteristics if they hope to cope successfully with them.
There is one drawback to a workshop full of members of the gentler persuasion. Those conversational powers so frequently granted to them would, we fear, tend somewhat to retard the progress of work, and a suite or sideboard might be disastrously delayed owing to a heated discussion on the merits of a new bonnet or a fresh colour in ribbons, unless, indeed, our fair carvers are superior to such frivolities.
The Furniture Gazette – (London) May 1, 1889
– Jeff Burks