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CHAPTER XVI

NEW MATERIALS AND. CONCLUSION

The changes of the nineteenth century—Cast, wrought, and rolled irOn—Steel
'in building constructiOn—Reinforced concrete—The uses of lead—Cast
and milled lead—Concrete in foundations—General development of the
methods of construction—Workers and methods in the past and the
present—Conclusion.

Changes in the methods which have been described in the pre-
ceding chapters were slow and gradual, until about a century ago.
Long beforethis time the greater English buildings had felt the
influence of the Renaissance in Italy; but little impression had
been made on the smaller, and their construction had hardly been
influenced. So it was also with the furniture which the buildings
contained, which was marked by a ‘sublime indifference to
passing fashions‘.’ Mr Arthur Hayden says that bacon cupboard,
linen chest, gate table, ladder-back chair, and windsor chair were
made down to fifty years ago, without departing from the original
patterns of the periods of Charles I and Queen Anne. And,
we may add, it was only the lack of furniture in the ordinary
houses of the Middle Ages which prevented the traditonal patterns
from reaching backwards to a much earlier period than the seven-
teenth century. _

Great changes in building came in with the nineteenth century.
This was due in part to improved means of communication, which
followed steam locomotion, and in part to the greater wealth which
resulted from world-wide trade, and the introduction of machinery
in manufactures. Of more importance still was compulsory ele-
mentary education, which brought ‘book-learning’ to workers
whose previous instruction in the crafts had been verbal, and
derived from tradition. One effect of these changes was such an

' Arthur Hayden, C lzats on Cotlage and Farm/louse Furniture, p. 32.

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