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UPHOLDER: Called also Upholsterer. The individual who prepared the upholstery fittings. In the 18th century upholstery formed an important part of the trade of the leading cabinet-makers.
UPHOLSTERY: The earliest forms of upholstering in England were state canopies and beds. A diversity of material was employed, plain and embroidered velvet, satin, tapestry, needlework, and even leather was used. Later, chintz and Indian calicoes came into favor. In the 17th century, fringes became an important feature of upholstery and continued in use until the end of the 18th century. Metal fringes and tasseled silk floss fringes were introduced from France and Italy during the Restoration and afterwards copied in England. Allusions to upholstery are numerous in the 18th century in all of the cabinet-makers' books of the period, and the upholsters' trade reached its zenith at that time. In this country, chair seats were covered early and by the end of the 17th century upholstered furniture was comparatively common. During the 18th century the use of upholstery in general paralleled its use in England.
VALANCE: A hanging drapery for beds, windows, etc.
VELVET: (French, Velours) A silk fabric with a short, close, soft nap. It is believed that the first velvet was made in China, but the early centers of velvet-making in Europe were the cities of Lucca, Genoa and Florence in Italy. Later Venetian velvets became noted, and the art was taken up in the Low Countries. After the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, French silk weavers migrated to England, and plain and figured velvets were made at Spitalfields, though not equal to Italian velvets. Velvets were then much used for hangings, but in the 18th century velvet lost favor, being replaced by lighter fabrics. A cheaper product known as Utrecht-velvet, consisting of worsted mohair, or of mohair and cotton, was also used for upholstery and hangings. The pile of modern velvets is produced by extra warps that loop over wires, which are withdrawn after the passage of the binding weft. So-called velvet carpets such as Wilton (q.v.) are made by the use of the velvet weave applied to floor coverings of wool.
VIRGINIA CLOTH: A mixture of cotton and tow used for servants' clothing in Colonial days.