Did You Know Your Folding Function Chair Is Historic?
Folding chairs are as ubiquitous as the office punch. You’ll find them in offices, homes, churches, sports clubs and so many more places!
The hard-working folding chair is practical, durable and flexible and is present in photographs as far back as the beginning of photographs.
So when did they first make their appearance under people's derrières?
Late Bronze Age
Can you believe that we are writing about the late bronze age? Relating to folding chairs? Well, that’s because there are historical records showing a Nordic folding chair from around 1400 BCE to 1301 BCE. But there are even older ones - Romans, Greeks, Egyptians and Minoans all had examples of folding chairs from around 1500 BCE - 1401 BCE!
Unlike today’s utilitarian approach to folding chairs, those ancient seats were only allowed to be used by the most high-class derrières a.k.a. Royalty and their courtesans. Being invited to sit in a folding chair meant you were the bee's knees.
These ancient chairs were simple but sturdy X shapes in wood with highly ornate detailing. The seats were of fur, hides or woven cloth or reeds. Without a doubt, some would have had gold leafing or solid gold incorporated as well as ivory, bone, bronze, metal, etc.
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Over the next 1000 years, folding chairs became a little more accessible as “high society” individuals used them in churches and as each century passed, a greater section of the market gained access to the elusive folding chair.
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The Folding Chair Rush
When the Americans took a fancy to the ‘first’ modern folding chair, in 1855 by John Cram (inspired by J.Middleton), it started a plethora of folding chair designs such as:
- A camping folding chair (1862, John Dann)
- A folding chair with book rest (1911, Nathaniel Alexander)
- A folding chair with rotating legs (1918, Tobias Miller)
- A very complex folding chair that was similar to today’s chair (1931, Philip E.G. Harrison)
- A simpler, mass production version followed (1956, Fredric Arnold)
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The Inventor Of The Folding Chair
With the first inventions of chairs being so many thousands of years ago, we can’t allocate a single person with the title of Inventor of The Folding Chair.
What we can do is award the title of Inventor of The Modern Folding Chair and that would have to be awarded to Cram, Alexander, Harrison and Arnold.
Today’s folding chairs are a far cry from the original X stool and thank goodness for that. Being able to have easy access to compact, flexible seating with a backrest for full relaxation potential is definitely our preference.
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