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manufacturing and the competition created a catalyst for innovation. It is interesting to note that at least one third of these specialist furniture manufacturers listed patent bedsteads on their trade-cards. This was probably due to the high demand for beds that could be assembled without the use of screws and nails which provided convenient cavities for bed bugs. Regency homes were alive with these insects and the furniture trade was preoccupied with finding a solution to the problem. As Edward T. Joy (1977, p. 210) points out, „as late as 1814 Tiffin and Son held a royal appointment as „Bug-Destroyers to His Majesty‟.


These specialist furniture manufacturers registered a total of fifty-five patents between 1771 and 1845. Less than fifty percent of these patents related to furniture demonstrating that the proprietors of these firms approached their business from a different perspective than the traditional cabinet-makers. Competition was most intense between Thomas Butler and Morgan & Sanders who were both based in Catherine Street. From the press coverage it would be reasonable to assume that Morgan & Sanders were the most active of the patent furniture manufacturing firms44. Ackermann‟s Repository was heaping praise on Morgan & Sanders at the beginning of the nineteenth century, but it is worth noting that the firm was also a major source of Ackermann‟s advertising revenue. There is some evidence that the high-end cabinet-makers, like their customers, considered much of the metamorphic furniture fanciful and unnecessary. Thomas Martin (1813, p. 111) wrote, probably with a hint of sarcasm, that it was „the fashion of the present day, to resort to a number of contrivances, for making one piece of furniture serve many purposes‟. As Brain Austen (1974) pointed out in an article for The Connoisseur, „Morgan & Sanders clearly favoured furniture with ingenious features‟; something they had in common with their neighbours45. But, outside of Catherine Street and the Strand, the ability to convert a chair, stool, cupboard or table into a small set of Library Steps was probably dismissed as a technique for marketing inferior cabinet-work.


4.4 Product and Service Differentiation


With more than forty patent furniture traders in London, the fashion-conscious consumers of the early nineteenth century could afford to be choosey. For those seeking a Metamorphic Library Chair it is unlikely that price would be a major factor in the purchasing decision. But Library Steps without a library would be foolish and,


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