Wicker furniture is woven from materials such as willow, reed or the core of rattan canes left over from cane production. The technique of making wicker furniture has been known since Roman times. From the Middle Ages, wicker furniture was used in country households for beds, chairs and cribs.
With the growth of the middle class in Victorian England, wicker furniture became popular for gardens, conservatories and porches. Exotic shapes were development, many with oriental motifs adapted from colonial furniture, which was popular at the time.
In the Edwardian period, there was a reaction away from the Victorian elaborate styles; fine weaving and simple, elegant forms became popular.
The centre of the British cane and wicker industry was Leicester and Dryad was the leading factory. The best American makers include Gustav Stickley, the Heywood Brothers and the Wakefield Rattan Company. (Heywood and Wakefield merged in 1897.)
In 1917. an American inventor, Marshall Burns Lloyd developed a technique for manufacturing a substitute for wicker, made from paper twisted on fibre, which could be mass-produced in sheets. The versatility of the material made Lloyd Loom furniture extremely popular for restaurants, hotels and other public places.