Glossary of Antique Terms

A device used for the measurement of atmospheric pressure using mercury or a vacuum sealed diaphragm.

the inlaying of tortoiseshell with brass designs.

An architectural term to describe the decorative termination of a column or pilaster. Typically these are of Corinthian, Doric and Ionic design.

The shaping and paring of wood with chisels or other sharp tools.

French Polishing
The lengthy and repetitive process of applying many thin coats of French polish using a cloth or pad resulting in a very high gloss and deep colour. The finish is obtained through circular motions building up layers of polish over considerable time. French polishing was commonly used on mahogany and other expensive woods, and was considered to give the best possible finish to furniture.

A pattern designed by an interlaced decorative design, carved in low relief on a solid background.

Covering a piece with precious metal such as gold leaf.

Gilt bronze
the mercurial gold plating of bronze.

Created by carving grooves in the wood for fitting exotic woods, metals or stones, popular choices include ebony, brass, ivory and mother-of-pearl.

An Oriental derived process of layering lacquer on wood giving the piece a glistening and shiny finish.

Different woods are veneered to create a design or pattern on the surface piece of furniture. Killarney furniture is a prime example of architectural and foliate surface decoration in contrasting wood colours.

This is gilded brass either through mercury fire gilding or electro plating.

The ageing process, which occurs over time on both wood and metal to give the item a particular lustre, once stripped and removed it can never be recovered. The original finish and patina should be retained on all items including handles, knobs, hinges, and escutcheons.

Patinated bronze
where the bronze is chemically altered to achieve other colours such as black, brown and green.

Sheets of fine wood applied over the surface of a piece.

Wood Turning
A process that allows the wood to turn while a fixed or static tool is used to shape and cut it.