Many if not most items made today are designed for limited use, and are replaced by newer or more fashionable items. Because of a shortened life cycle it is not necessary to design for longevity. This may be good for jobs and profit, but not so good for the environment. Whilst we need jobs, we also need a healthy clean environment in which to live.
Re-cycling is the current buzz word and going or being green is the latest fashionable trend, so why are antiques green?
By definition an antique is a piece that is 100 years or more in age. The designs were functional but not necessarily attractive, although many antiques fulfil both of these criteria.
Perhaps the best way to illustrate this is by way of an example, noteably the humble Windsor chair, although many different types of antiques could equally have been used.
The chair parts would have been made by craftsmen who lived in the woods whence the materials came. The turnings were mainly produced on treadle-operated lathes, then the finished parts were taken on foot to a local workshop to be assembled. From there the completed chairs would be distributed around the country by horse and cart or waterways. Although the chair was used, and in some cases abused, it is still around today. Why?
The design was certainly functional and in many cases attractive. The wood would have been properly seasoned and the parts created by people who took pride in their work. Perhaps some old fashioned values are still respected in our fast moving cyber world.
By buying and using this Windsor chair, natural resources have been conserved and the carbon footprint of another chair being produced, that probably would come all the way from the Far East, has been prevented Most likely the new mass produced chair will end up at the waste tip long before the antique Windsor chair is sold again or goes to the restorers to be revived for another 100 years of faithful service
What a green product the antique really is and what a life cycle!