More traditional upholstery started to make its appearance at the beginning of the 17th Century. That is when it started to become fashionable for wealthy people’s homes to have luxurious items like padded chairs. This padding was actually stuffing, that was made up of basic materials like sawdust, feathers, grass, and animal hair like those found on a goat and horse.
The source of Algerian fibre is palm grass leaves. A machine first shreds the leaves and then they are laid out carefully in the sun to dry. The process can take several months to complete. After they have been dried the fibres or strands are twisted and made into ropes. Green is the natural colour of fibre, however, it is dyed black occasionally to sterilise it and eliminate a tiny mite that the fibre frequently contains. Algerian Fibre is very strong and continues to be resilient for long time periods and were often used in pubs and restaurants for furniture upholstery.
Curly Black Fibre
This fibre is a Coir fibre derivative (found in between the outskin skin and hard internal shell of a coconut) and is treated creating excellent spring, flexibility, and strength. Normally it is used in brushes, doormats, and mattresses. Due its availability and dexterity, it has mainly replaced Algerian fibre as the primary stuffing source.
This seaweed is found on the Baltic coast and France’s south coast. It was a first filling upholstery source for the Victorians. The seaweed dries over time and becomes brittle and hard. It cracks into little flakes eventually. It is not used within the commercial upholstery market any longer.
The major kinds of feathers that are utilised in upholstery are chopped or milled feathers, curled feathers, and down feathers. Down comes from swans, goose, or duck and is from the undercoating found under the outer feathers. Due to it being so soft, it is considered to be the best feather to use in upholstery and is found commonly in high-quality furniture and cushions.
Mill was often used in the 18th century as a filed in bedding and upholstery. Over time, an inferior cotton wool grade was used but was called the same thing. The cotton is made across Australia, the United States, and Europe. When picked and gathered, the cotton balls get process, where they first pass through a gin to allow the fibre to be separated from the seed. At this stage, the cotton may be used to spin, so there isn’t any waste, while the seeds that are remaining go through an oil mill. Then they are cleaned to remove the remaining short fibres, which are not well-suited for spinning. Then the seed is washed before they are crushed to extract oil from them. The linter is the machine that is used in the process, which is where the name ‘cotton linter’ comes from.
Whenever a teased cotton layer gets sprayed with starch, a skin is formed over the cotton surface, which creates a bond that holds together the fibres and that is called skin wadding. That is most commonly used as the topping that is over the other filling products, like open horse hair, lined, or calico. The skin wadding is very strong and the outer surface is protected from the protruding hair, and a soft and comfortable finish is created.
Matting and Interlaced Padding
It is formed when different fillings like fibre, horse hair, or coir are carded and then cross laid on the hessian base lightweight material. Then this passes through what is called as a needling machine based on a large amount of sharped barbed needles that it contains, that are all lined up in rows. These needles move up and down, which force the fibres through its hessian base on the needle’s downward stroke, and then they are released in the upward stroke, which results in them penetrating only the underside part of the hessian. This kind of filling is found most often in bedding. It is also very popular in some kinds of upholstery. Many upholsters favoured is due to the fact that it has time efficiency when it is compared to the loose filling. Interlaced padding, due to its strength, is usually placed right over the spring units.