Gilded Cages, Flights of Fancy

Bird cages saw their earliest use in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia, Greece, Rome, China, India, Babylon, among many others. During this time birds were kept often for religious or symbolic reasons, but were also a sign of wealth and aristocracy, such as the African birds imported to Roman courts. This trend continued in Europe as Portugal brought back Canaries in the 16th century. The Harz Mountain area in Germany became known for its unique style of birdcage, carving elaborate wooden cages resembling cuckoo clocks. Exotic bird trade became quite lucrative, some birds selling for their weight in gold. Captive birds were very much a status symbol, and were kept in wealthy households and courts throughout Western Europe, with especial patronage from monarchy. The 18th and 19th centuries were a remarkable period of creativity regarding birdcages. Influences ranged from China to gothic Europe. Perhaps the peak of bird keeping came during the Victorian age. New innovations in design and unique materials fed the craze for bird keeping. Even in colonial America, settlers kept birds in wooden or bamboo cages. In 1874, the Andrew B. Hendryx company (then called Hendryx & Bartholomew) was founded in America and joined Hartz Mountain as one of the lead manufacturer of fashionable birdcages. As the Art Deco and Arts and Crafts movement arose in the early 1900s, bird cage design reflected the trend, usually with oriental-style hanging cages. The next large shift in style was during the Atomic Age, when plastic became the predominant material in mass-produces cages. Slowly, iron and plastic cages gave way to the large, sleek, steel cages found in pet stores today. – Birdcage. 2021 January 23. In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birdcage

Long form articles:

https://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?cc=mqr;c=mqr;c=mqrarchive;idno=act2080.0053.301;g=mqrg;rgn=main;view=text;xc=1

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