Technology transfer and the British furniture making industry 1945-1955

2012-03-14T14:37:02Z (GMT) by Clive Edwards
The transfer of technology from both allies and enemies in a wide range of manufacturing industries has been a notable feature of the aftermath of both world wars during the 20th century. This paper investigates whether this pattern is as evident in the furniture trade as in other, more strategically critical products. The two world wars were significant factors in the development of the British furniture industry, particularly because of the transfers of materials and production technology that took place after each. While events of the 1920s and 1930s indicated the possibilities of significant advantages from such developments, the more important era followed World War II. This paper tracks the changes that occurred between 1920 and 1955, but emphasizes the decade after 1945. The results suggest that the manufacturing models from the United States were significant, but that the possibilities were unevenly adopted throughout the industry. Moreover, the government played a significant role in facilitating some of the most important transfers. This paper also assesses the impact that transfers to and within the furniture industry may have had in the longer term. The selected time period of the main case study relates to both the postwar adoption of new techniques and materials, and to a particular moment when the British government specifically encouraged productivity as a goal.