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  • Writer's pictureTri City Furniture, Auburn

Today’s furniture…What is different from the 1950’s Part 2

Updated: Apr 30

Last week we started our conversation about how sofas have changed over that last 50+ years.



Let's start with many companies who you may think is American made import their frames, and assemble them here in the USA. This is not American made, this is American assembled. Even though those words sound similar, they are not the same! There is a lot of differences in the hidden construction of the frames!

These companies are always trying to push the pricing down, there has to be differences in the construction! There is no way to make a quality pieces for a lower price without taking something away. Consider the frame, Do you want it to be wood or cardboard? Does it have a support systems? Does it have coils, support bars, cording. steel, or metal? Is there foam in the seat? Is the back seat channeled? Will the back settle in? Can the seat cushions be flipped? What about the fabric? Is it quality? Will it last? And what about the shipping! The cost to ship a small package across the state is costly. Have you thought about what the cost would be to send large pieces across the world?


There are many changes in fabrics for furniture today! Many of the American fabric mills went out of business during the time when imports became important as a furniture source. The fabrics made here were much heavier and design oriented! We had many kinds of prints and stripes and textures…..and in that time, the manufacturers had people who knew how to match the stripes and plaids, in every direction. It was a work of art!


The change to solid fabrics occurred due to the mills being in China! The import manufacturers just could not manufacture fabrics that were reliable in color, and the repeats of plaids and stripes were not consistent, and they did not have people who knew how to match patterns and strips! They could make solid color fabrics so that is where the import sofa manufacturers went.

It seems like they should be able to make better fabrics by now, since it has been many years that furniture has been imported!


Keep in mind that costs are their major concern though! They need to keep their costs at a minimum. To create a woven fabric with multi colors and design are way more expensive to manufacture. There are computerized machines which can create unbelievable designs, but those machines are very expensive.

Today, there are more American mills and they are creating some beautiful fabrics…but realize that these fabrics are going to make the piece of furniture cost more! So, we are still seeing most imported furniture in a solid fabric, or a small texture!

We hear about fabric grades….does that tell us if a fabric is a higher quality?


When we speak about fabric grades, they are not talking about durability. Higher grades have to do with how much that fabric costs to manufacture! They do not charge you more for durability!


Is there a certain fiber that will give better durability?

Yes, when looking for a durable fabric, it really comes down to what the fiber content is and even more important, where is it made? Just

understanding that there are so many differences in how thread is made, how thread is woven and how fiber is dyed…..all these factors contribute to how fabric lasts. This is why some fabric wears better and also clean easier! Remember, they can look very similar! But, they will not wear the same! There are so many difference in fabrics, we will talk about fabric another time!


There is so much that goes into the production of furniture and the components that are used! And all that put together, make all of the price differences!


Thank you for helping us understand the difference in fabrics! Thank you for watching DesignTime!


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