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a branch of industry producing furniture for residential and public areas. The manufacture of furniture is one of the oldest branches of production. In prerevolutionary Russia, furniture-making was primarily handicraft and semihandicraft in character. Furniture factories were concentrated near St. Petersburg, Moscow, Riga, Kiev, and some other cities.
In the USSR there is now large-scale machine production of furniture. Before the Great Patriotic War (1941-45) old enterprises were renovated and expanded in several places, including Moscow, Leningrad, Ivanov, Kharkov, Maikop, Taganrog, Makhachkala, and Simferopol’. New furniture factories were built in Moscow, Leningrad, Yerevan, Chistopol’,, Armavir, Borisov, Gomel’, Sverdlovsk, and Volgograd. By 1940 the furniture industry had a number of specialized enterprises. Inexpensive and comfortable pieces were mass-produced to fulfill the needs of the broad strata of the population. During the Great Patriotic War the furniture industry, for the most part, manufactured goods for the front. Shortly after the war, along with the reconstruction of prewar furniture factories, furniture-making workshops were organized in sawmills and wood-products plants. In 1950 the prewar level of production was surpassed.
The furniture industry experienced particularly rapid development after theadoption in 1957 of a decree by the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers of the USSR concerning the growth of housing construction in the USSR. Emphasis was placed on the production of furniture sets rather than on individual pieces of furniture. These sets were designed specifically for one-, two-, and three-room apartments. Chip-board, fiber board, and polymer materials began to be used, and efficient varnishing processes were introduced. The furniture industry of the USSR turned out some products whose construction was equal in quality to that of the best foreign models.
The furniture industry has at its disposal well-supplied, specialized enterprises for manufacturing all types of furniture, including framed-up, upholstered, kitchen, and children’s furniture. Also available to the industry are well-developed design and research facilities for solving problems of design improvement and the technology of production. In 1972, furniture production in the USSR was valued at more than 3.3 billion rubles. The volume of furniture production is listed by major type in Table 1.
|Table 1. Total furniture production in the USSR|
|Tables (millions) ........||2.4||2.2||6.5||12.1||13|
|Chairs and armchairs (millions) ........||11||12||29||40||43|
|Cupboards (thousands) ........||149||54||964||3,092||3,372|
|Wardrobes (thousands) ........||658||834||4,229||5,701||6,882|
|Divans, couches, ottomans, and stools (thousands) ........||637||446||2,683||1,016||800|
|Furniture sets (thousands) ........||—||—||30.9||275||372|
The increase in furniture production has been accompanied by an improvement in quality. New factories have been built, particularly in Siberia and the Soviet Far East. The principal technical advances in the furniture industry include the introduction of automation, standardization, and use of joints and parts uniform in design, as well as the use of new materials and models. There has been an increase in the concentration and specialization of production.
Among other socialist countries, the furniture industry has developed most in the German Democratic Republic (GDR), Poland, Rumania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Bulgaria. In Czechoslovakia, for example, there are large-scale enterprises producing bentwood furniture, furniture sets for dwellings, and pieces for schools and for cultural and public institutions. In 1972, furniture production was valued at 2,341,000,000 marks in the GDR, 14,836,000,000 zlotys in Poland, 6,960,000,000 lei in Rumania, and 4,768,000,000 koruny (as of 1971) in Czechoslovakia.
The furniture industry is well developed in a number of capitalist countries. The Federal Republic of Germany is ranked first in Western Europe in furniture production, especially in the production of kitchen furniture. The largest centers of furniture production in the USA are New York City and Chicago. In 1972 the production of everyday furniture in the USA (shipped from enterprises) was valued at $7,121,000,000.
V. IA. BOROVOI