Cabinetmakers Terms

“Some of us may have noticed that governments of the day seems to have an obsession, preference and attachment towards cabinetmakers terms, when describing Parliamentary placings and positions of these elected members who ran our country.

Words like ‘chairs’, as in chairman (now chairperson), ‘seats’, as in the seats of Parliament, ‘bench’, as in back-benchers, ‘Secretary’~ (which comes from the french word Secrétaire meaning a form of enclosed writing desk), as administrative arm of the different portfolios, a ‘secretariat’ which is a permanent administrative office of a department, and lastly, ‘cabinet’, as in the committee of senior ministers responsible for controlling government policy.

This is so because until the medieval era, castles are devoid of furniture and thus it was the usual formality to greet and be greeted, and to grant audiences and discussions standing.

When chairs made their appearance in the 18th century, they were a luxury. They weren’t mass produced like today and thus, not everyone could afford the comforts made by the ébéniste and menuisiers, the two components of cabinet making which decides the shapes, designs and functions of these furnitures. These cabinet makers were very much celebrities and respected people of the courts. And thus, especially chairs, they are reserved only for those in power, and the people who could afford to commission them. And orders were usually piled up to the brim and may take years to have them delivered.

Therefore to be offered a seat, means you are a deserving privileged, someone worthy of respect.
Hence this obsession carried on, with these terms handed down through generations of those who were vying for these seats of power. And above this are the ‘Rulers’- the instrument used for sizing and measuring furnitures.

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