News: Inlay

During the 1600’s and 1700’s Pennsylvania had a high inflow of European people looking to develop their own communities with all of the much desired freedom and rights that were denied to them in their respective countries. William Penn, who owned the Province Of Pennsylvania. These later became the State of Pennsylvania, allowed all of those who settled there freedom of religious practice. Pennsylvania was the region where many German immigrants chose to live. These immigrants were known as the Pennsylvania Dutch and their communities consisted of the Amish and the Mennonites, the plain people, and the Lutherans, along with other reformed religious groups, the fancy people. These groups of people had very skilled wood craftsmen who made wonderful furniture pieces such as the blanket chest, also referred to as the hope chest.

The groups of people known as the fancy people is said to have been the ones that made blanket chests with inlay designs. The plain people rarely added embellishments of any type to hope chests, their homes or their clothing which is why they were known as the plain people. The fancy people not only added inlay to their wooden blanket chests, they also liked fully painted designs which had specific meanings for individual families.

The number of those who use this restorative is still relatively small despite these benefits. This is due to the existence of cheaper inlay materials such as porcelain and composite according to experts. When weighed against others, the price of gold inlays is typically 4-5 times more per tooth. Less people are attracted to this solution, as a result.

How Can This Be?

In addition, a large number of people believe that the yellow shade of gold inlays is unappealing. They prefer the natural color of porcelain inlays instead. Gold inserts also conduct heat faster, making it even more uninviting for some patients. However, people must be educated about the true worth and the benefits of having golden tooth decay remedies.

Many eighteenth-century Pennsylvania German furniture pieces, especially blanket chests, were decorated with sulfur inlay. This was done by first carving out a shallow decorative design into the wood chests using very sharp wood chisels. From there, molten sulfur was carefully poured into the incisions. This material, which was ivory-colored, was first mentioned in historical art literature in 1958. There has been a great deal of confusion about the make-up of methods of manufacture, this material, its composition, and the origin of their color since then. Some of these inlays were found to become a type of allotrope of sulfur in 1977. Some years later another inlay type was found on eighteenth-century hope chest furniture, also ivory-colored, that didn’t contain sulfur.

Sulfur when initially poured is bright yellow in color. This lead historians to do some research about the aging phenomena of the inlays. They found that the inlays changed their color to ivory when there was a particle size decrease of the sulfur used in these designs. This was caused by repeated climatic changes on the blanket chests over the space of 200 years, especially in an uncontrolled environment. This would likewise be why much of the hope chests found in historical collections decorated with sulfur inlay display some cracking and splitting of the sulfur.

Along with the sulfur inlay used in their beautiful designs, ivory, shell, contrasting colored wood and bone were additional materials placed into the wood chiseled incisions. Many of the blanket chests crafted in Pennsylvania by German immigrants were artfully inlaid with leaf and floral designs flowing out from vases. The vases would have been formed out of either of the additional materials.Sulfur inlay was also served to create string inlay and inlaid keyhole escutcheon in geometric patterns as an additional design element. This inlay was very fine in detail so that all of the designs created were very sophisticated in appearance.