The beginnings of pressboard occurred about 1861. Brothers Alfred Wells Case and Albert Willard Case owned a fiber-processing plant and became the leading producers of pressboard, which is made from wood pulp and other wood and paper manufacturing waste products. Pressboard has a laminate paper covering with a wood grain pattern. Furniture made of pressboard ranges from tables and bookshelves to nightstands.
One of the downsides of owning pressboard furniture is that it is not as strong as true wood furniture. Heavy objects stored permanently on pressboard furniture can cause damage. For example, books can make pressboard bookshelves sag. Also, pressboard cannot stand up to moisture. Even condensation from a cold glass of water can leave a bad impression on pressboard. When moisture gets into pressboard, the pressboard swells and stays that way, leaving a lump in the furniture. After awhile, the paper laminate covering may peel from the actual pressboard.
The main advantage of pressboard furniture is its price. It is a short-term furniture option, making it work well in college dormitories. Pressboard furniture is also ideal for rooms that do not receive much use, such as a guest room. It normally comes in a box, and its pieces must be put together. Being able to take the furniture apart makes it a smaller package to move.
Using presswood furniture with care helps to make it last. For example, flipping over presswood bookshelves from time to time deters sagging. Eventually, though, the shelves will weaken and break. No cups or glasses should be placed directly on pressboard, preventing spills and damage. Using coasters for cups and glasses set of pressboard, though, helps to prolong the pressboard's life. Using a slightly damp rag to wipe pressboard clean followed by using a dry rag to wipe off leftover moisture also helps. The back of peeling laminate paper can be reattached to presswood with regular school glue.