The British and Irish Furniture Makers Online (BIFMO) project is a partnership between the Institute of Historical Research and the Furniture History Society. Our mission is to serve as the one-stop definitive resource for British and Irish furniture makers from the beginning of the 16th century to the onset of the Great War, by providing the details of furniture manufacturers and suppliers: their organising structures, their clientele, the material they produced and the services they provided.
The BIFMO database comprises five sources:
- The Dictionary of British and Irish Furniture Makers, 1500-1914
- Records of the London Upholders' Company, 1704-1772. Abstracted and indexed by Cliff Webb (1998): http://www.sog.org.uk/
- Records of the London Joiners' Company (1640-1783)
- A Dictionary of Edinburgh Wrights and Furniture Makers, 1660-1840. Francis Bamford (1983): https://www.jstor.org/stable/23405697?seq=1
- A Dictionary of Norfolk Furniture Makers, 1700-1840. Complied by Dr John Stabler (2006): https://regionalfurnituresociety.org/publications/journal/backjournals/
The BIFMO search facility makes it possible to carry out both simple and analytical queries. At the most basic level it acts as a searchable directory of furniture makers and associated trades, providing access to names, occupations, dates, the locations of artisans and tradespeople, the products they supplied and the clients and patrons they served. However, BIFMO also has the ability to carry out statistical and quantitative queries to inform social and economic analysis, such as identifying where particular trades were situated at a specific date, or over a period of time, making it possible to analyse the growth of the trade and the increase or reduction in a specific type and/or style of furniture, thus indicating a change in fashion and consumer demand or how furniture making networks operated, including subcontracting specific aspects of the manufacturing process for efficiency and cost effectiveness.