In the latter decades of the eighteenth-century, capital and many regional trade societies published Books of Prices in order to assimilate the piece-rate of many standard procedures involved in cabinetmaking, chairmaking and upholstery etc.
The Books of Prices were not, as one might suppose, for the benefit of the clientele, but were prepared by journeymen and presented to their masters for the betterment of both parties positions – early Unionism if you will. Compliance wasn’t unilateral at first, and in London at least, disputes were commonplace, culminating in a three-month-long strike in 1797.
The Price of Putting on Brass Work, abbreviated from The London Society of Cabinet-Makers, The Cabinet-Makers’ London Book of Prices, 1793, pp. 265-266.
|Common caſtors, each||0||0||1|
|Socket caſtors, when the legs are taper’d to fit in, per ſet||0||0||5|
|Ditto, when the legs are ſhoulder’d||0||0||6|
|Ditto on table claws, each caſtor||0||0||2½|
|When the caſtor has a ſtrap to ſcrew on the under ſide of the claw, each caſtor extra||0||0||1|
|Letting in the ſtrap||0||0||1|
|Fitting on a drawer lock||0||0||3|
|Ditto a box lock||0||0||6|
|Common handles or rings, each||0||0||1|
|Letting in the nuts, each||0||0||0½|
|Lifting handles, each pair||0||0||6|
|Letting in eſcutcheons, each||0||0||1|
|Each braſs or iron corner plate||0||0||1|
|Ditto letting in and cleaning level with the wood||0||0||3|
|A triangle plate on pillar-and-claw table||0||0||2|
|Ditto, when four claws||0||0||3|
|Letting in a triangle plate, the ſides not exceeding four inches long||0||0||4|
|Ditto, when four claws||0||0||8|
|Each inch in length when triangles, extra||0||0||1|
|Ditto, when four claws||0||0||1½|