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Upholstery comes from the Middle English word upholder, which referred to an artisian who makes fabric furnishings. The term is equally applicable to domestic automobile, airplane and boat furniture, and can be applied to mattresses, particulary the upper layers, though these often differ significantly in design. A person who works with upholstery is called an upholsterer. an apprentice upholsterer is sometimes called an outsider or trimmer.
Traditional upholstery uses materials like coil springs (post-1850), animal hair (horse,hog, and cow) coir, straw and hay, hessians, linen scrims, wadding, etc, and is done by hand, building each layer up. In contrast, today's upholstererers employ synthetic materials like dacron and vinyl, serpentine springs, and so on.