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Medieval mason’s marks could solve misery of flat-pack furniture

A medieval system of marking stone in building work could be a cheap and effective way of ending the modern day frustration of constructing ‘flat-pack’ furniture, according to Dr Jenny Alexander from History of Art.

Mason’s Marks refer to marks made on the blocks of walling stone and on moulded stone as part of the construction process, and have been in use for centuries. Academics studying the use of the marks at the University of Warwick claim self-assembly furniture manufacturers could learn a lot from the ancient system and save thousands of pounds in production costs.

The marks are a sophisticated series of symbols which operated outside literacy and enabled instructions to be transferred between the designers and the constructors of buildings across the building world . The system is universal and different versions of Masons’ Marks have been found in use at various sites across the world, over a 4,000 year period. Dr Jenny Alexander from the University of Warwick’s History of Art department said the marks were used for a variety of reasons.

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Clearing 2013