Brackets have been used in numerous types of architecture for several reasons. Colonial buildings were sometimes built to include decorative corbels on the exterior to make the otherwise plain buildings come alive. In the following years, the design evolved into what is now referred to as Victorian architecture. In this highly ornamental era, it was not uncommon to see corbels on the exteriors of both common and governmental buildings. In medieval Europe, many used brackets for protection. At that time, brackets were made from stone materials which had frightening contortionists, dragons, and drunkards chiseled into them. The theory was that if individuals placed these carved corbels on the outside of their homes, they could ward off evil spirits. In contrast, the churches of the time period would surround themselves with images of biblical figures carved into corbels to give visual representations of light to the people.
In America, corbels were made from wood rather than stone because of the abundance of trees in the surrounding forests. When gingerbread-style houses became popular, the brackets were integrated into the facades. This style soon became popular with farmhouses as well. When used boldly along with molding, the farmhouses were transformed into something quite picturesque.
With the invention of the railway system and assembly lines, a greater quantity of corbels could be ordered and transported quickly by train. Until this time, corbels were used mainly for decorative purposes, but the style began to change. Consumers began desiring products which served a functional rather than ornamental purpose. To meet this demand, bracket designs changed from ornate carvings to the more simplistic. The straight lines on the aptly named traditional corbels gave the impression of strength over ornament.
Consumers today are also looking for functionality in corbels rather than the highly decorative look used in the Victorian era. Modern traditional brackets avoid using curves and are recessed to provide a simplistic look. Osborne Wood Products, Inc. realizes the need to offer simple as well as elaborate and ornate corbels and brackets, and because we strive to meet the needs of our customers in every way possible, these traditional brackets are offered at Osborne Wood Products in a number of designs and in up to eleven different wood types.