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In many ways, Art Deco isn't original at all. There's nothing about the designs that couldn't be designed or manufactured ten or twenty years before.

If you take a look at houses sitting between the late 1800's and the early 1900's, you'll see many standard features that later became Art Deco. The reason that you see these features is the same reason that you see the features in Art Deco: they were easy to produce at the drafting table, and skill artisans could then produce the designs on houses.

For example, semi-circles often appear at the top of windows and door. Later on, when builders were called onto create other curved features, they already had the expertise to do so. Likewise, when looking at period ironwork, you see lines, circles, and diamonds everywhere. Ironworkers knew how to create these shapes. When Art Deco came along and rearranged the shapes, the work was already well within their expertise.

Once you see the elements in the preceding decades, the emergence of beauty based on those elements becomes rather sensical, if not inevitable.

With the advent of standardized windows and chain-link fences, ironwork fell into disfavor and windows returned to their usual square appearance.

Return to: Art Deco 101

Douglas Milewski is a fantasy writer who liked drafting class too much. In his recent artistic struggles to produce art deco for his own covers, he found no internet sites dedicated to the technical underpinnings of the art. Seeing a niche that needed filling, he has documented his hard learned experiences. He doesn't claim that he's right, and would very much appreciate it if someone more competent would save him from his own folly.