A Nearly Lost Art : 19th Century Shaker Influence and the Beginning of Thos. Moser
Thos. Moser was founded in part to honor and carry forward the principles of craft that Shaker-influenced design embody: furniture free of ornament and committed to usefulness and purpose. The fluid beauty of Shaker inspired furniture allows it to exist beyond the worlds of style and fashion. Fashion changes every year. But Shaker designs transcend the limits of time. Lines and curves invite and engage the eye and inspire the heart. By reimagining and reinventing how those principals can be applied, Moser helped reawaken interest in Shaker-influenced furniture, leading to a resurgence in popularity that still thrives today – in the process earning a place among the finest furniture designers: Eames, Stickley, Nakashima. . . Moser.
From the very beginning, Tom believed the best furniture designers are students of history. They synthesize and improve, but they always work within a framework of forms that have existed for decades, even centuries. Over time, he shared this ethic and aesthetic with skilled craftspeople that joined the Moser team, each welcoming the opportunity to take part in an organization that prioritized excellence – even at the expense of production capacity and profit margins. After one year of employment, each Thos. Moser craftsman is qualified to sign furniture on its way to the finishing room. This privilege is taken very seriously and each piece is signed with great pride.
Today, Thos. Moser has grown from a one-man operation to a community of nearly 70 skilled craftsmen. From dovetail joinery and through tenons to innovations and reinventions like the Continuous Armchair, Moser’s careful, hard-won mastery of both craft and materials has resulted in a rich, vibrant career of inspiration and education, and a culture of fine woodworkers that spans the globe. Over the past 45 years, Thos. Moser has launched over 20 design collections, furnished universities and libraries, and crafted one-of-a-kind custom pieces for countless customers. An early ad illustrates some of those pieces as, “a table to seat 16 people, a handkerchief table for a special corner, a dower chest for a recent graduate.”
So who would have thought that one of the most important early projects Tom would undertake was not a chair, or a table, or a case, but a waterwheel…
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