Marble Top Furniture
Information marble and wood furniture. Marble top and marble table furniture.
¶ Marbles of various kinds are extensively used on furniture, both for utility and ornament. The finest quality of marble is from the quarries on the Straits of Gibraltar; some few, such as Tennessee (which has been used extensively on the new Capitol extension in Washington, DC.,) and white imitation statuary which is found in Vermont, and some small figured mottled marble from Virginia, are used by cabinet-makers. Occasionally a large boulder of calcareous spar is found in limestone veins in Virginia, but not in sufficient quantity to become an article of prominence, although it is very beautiful. The marbles principally in use are white Italian, black and gold Italian, pink and yellow Lisbon, Brocadilla, Sienna, white Italian statuary, and mosaic.
¶ Brocadilla and Sienna are the most fashionable and are also the most expensive, as the supply is limited and the demand great. The quarries belong mostly to fraternities of monks, who only have sufficient quarried to produce the amount of revenue required for their support. These marbles are used for center table tops, etageres, cabinets, and other articles of drawing-room furniture. For bureaus and washstands, white marble, either statuary or white Italian, is in general use.
¶ In selecting bedroom furniture it is well to get the best white hard marble, as it will not absorb grease nor soil so easily as the soft chalky stone will, and it is also much stronger. The difference is easily ascertained, as hard marble will ring like sound china, and the soft or common marble will sound like cracked china. All kinds of marble are imported in large blocks, and sold by the cubic foot. The blocks are placed on trestles and from ten to thirty steel bands, which are placed in a frame at such distance apart as the marble is required in thickness when cut. This frame is propelled backward and forward by steam power, and by friction with coarse, hard sand (with which they are fed) and plenty of water, separates the block into slabs. The slab is then worked to the form required with chisel and mallet; it is then ground level with fine sand on a circular wheel, and afterward polished with a paste composition and with hones.
¶ There are sonic very beautiful figured marbles which will not take a polish and are of no value; this is particularly the case with a fine green arid white spotted stone, some of which is very much like verd-antique, which in the slab looks very valuable, but all attempts to polish it have failed. There are some rare marbles which we never see in America and which are fabulously valuable. We have heard of an English nobleman who paid six thousand pounds sterling for one center-table top of malachite. Small specimens of this stone worked in ornaments are in the possession of some gentlemen here who have brought them from Russia as curiosities. The Italians make center-table tops very beautiful in mosaic, and veneering in small pieces in imitation of mosaic. These are made extensively at Palermo, and visitors to Europe very frequently bring home the marble tops and have them handsomely fitted up as souvenirs of their travels.
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