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A Cushion of Indulgence

Aug 17, 2007
Amidst everyone's awareness, a cushion is not just a foam material that one may reach out when he or she feels the need to lie down.

Through out history, this piece of foam that we easily disregard nowadays was considered a lavishness. Through time, cushions have proven to be an important furniture accent to both medieval and modern homes.

The term cushion came from the Old French term "caisson" or "cousin" and from the Latin word "culcita" which means "a quilt". A cushion is fabric sewn into a bag filled with soft materials which may be made of feather, foam, wool, hair and even paper shred into pieces.

A cushion can be used for different purposes. It can be an ornamental material used to accentuate a room.

A cushion can also be used to make sitting in a hard surfaced chair or couch more comfortable by reducing the hardness or angularity of a furniture. In some religious practices, cushions are used as an accessory to kneel on during ceremonies.

Cushions have also been an important article of furniture in ancient history. In the Middle Ages, inventors of palaces and houses included cushions as important items.

In those times, cushions are made in large sizes to substitute for chairs. Most of the cushions made in that period are covered in leather and are firm enough to be seated on even without chairs.

In France and Spain, courts still used cushions even at a later period in history.

In the Spanish court, a cushion was still regarded as a more honorable substitute for a chair.

In France, the right to kneel on a cushion when in church especially when you are seated behind the king was considered a great honor. The privilege to kneel in a cushion was not given to anyone. In the French court, this type of cushion was called a "carreau" or a square.

Sitting on a cushion was put on high regard during that era due to the fact that seats and chairs back then were rude and hard. Sitting on a cushion can even be considered a luxury back then.

At present, the sizes of cushions have diminished because people learned to upholster furniture and add padding on them. Even so, the purpose of the cushion basically still remains the same.

There are four types of cushions depending on its covering and construction - the box, the soft or mock box, the wedge and the knife-edge.

The box cushion has three parts - the top, the bottom and the strip that goes around the entire cushion. Box cushions are commonly used for padding in couches and commercial seats that requires a rectangular or square cushioning.

A soft or mock box cushion only consists of two sections - the top and the bottom. The edges are left freely to give allowances for thickness provided by pleats gathered in the corner.

Wedge cushions have a knife-edge at the top and box or mock box construction at the bottom.

Knife-edged cushions are the type of cushions that we often see in homes. This design, as the name suggests, angles at the edges pointedly. Throw pillows are regularly made with a knife-edge design to add detailing and shape to the cushion.

Nowadays, cushions cannot just be only made out of foam or feathers. In recent times, air cushions have been developed. Air cushions are cushions made from synthetic leather material which can be filled up with air instead of the usual cushion stuffing.

At present, cushions are now used for different purposes more than for seating. Since there are a lot of materials made readily available for anyone, cushions are mass produced not just for the use of a selected few.

The next time you hug a pillow, remember that you are hugging a piece of foam but also a piece of indulgence.
About the Author
James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of
CushionDepot.com and writes expert
articles about cushions .
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