Thursday, April 23, 2009
Collectors Have Always Been Green
One advantage is that the quality is in most cases far superior to the modern product, the boards used to make a piece of furniture were wider from old trees. More time was taken to make it, often handcrafted, and there was a sense of pride in workmanship. The quality of the materials used in antique furniture is far superior, made of real wood, not sawdust glued together with a veneer laminate to look like wood. This reduces the toxins released into the air from the adhesives and plastics.
This goes for textiles as well, a hand-sewn item will often last longer than a brand new one. The clothing of the past was made well, and made to last, so that it can be passed down to younger siblings when too small. The fabric was made of natural materials; cotton, wool, silk, linen and hemp. The apparel made today can be ruined by one single loose thread being pulled, most manufacturers use a chain stitch IMO for this reason. If the article gets too close to a flame, it will melt, so it is treated with fire retardant during manufacturing, more toxic chemicals.
Some of the older glass was also hand-made; hand-cut, hand-painted, hand-blown. The glass industry has perfected the process so that there are no imperfections, but it is those imperfections that collectors look for, it tells how and when it was produced and makes the item more unique and desirable.
Another advantage is monetary, it is less expensive to buy an antique piece of furniture than a new one of comparable value. I can't see anyone collecting mass-produced pieces in the future, they don't last, manufacturers call this "planned obsolescence". If the products don't last, the manufacturer can sell more products. This goes for almost every product that is sold today. The resale value for these products are very minimal. The resale value for antiques and collectibles is always on the increase, an item will almost always appreciate in value.
Besides the reasons that I have mentioned above, the result of collecting is a reduction of toxins into the air from the manufacturing process, the reduction in energy resources and the reduction in natural resources to make the product. At the same time, we teach our children by example about being frugal with money, about not being wasteful, get them interested in history and preservation and an appreciation for fine workmanship.