Definition of the Chair: The Chair is
defined as a piece of furniture that provides a seat for one person, usually with a support for the back and four legs.
Fact File about who invented the Chair: Invention: Chair *** Date of Invention: c. 2600 B.C. *** Name of Inventor: Unknown *** Historical Period: Ancient Egyptian Early Dynastic Period (3100 - 2686 BCE) *** Category: Household Items *** Country of Origin: Ancient Egypt *** The Invention of the Chair ***
Fact 1 about who invented the Chair: The name of the inventor of the Chair is unknown but it is believed to have been invented in c. 2600 B.C. during the Ancient Egyptian period in history known as the Early Dynastic Period
era of inventions(3100 - 2686 BCE).
Fact 2 about who invented the
Chair: Prior to the invention of the Chair c. 2600 B.C., men always found
something to sit on to rest their weary bones. Stones, rocks and tree stumps
offered some comfort outdoors and in caves.
Fact 3 about who invented the Chair: The idea of creating stone seats
inside a home or shelter dates back to the Neolithic period. Evidence of Stone
Age furniture was found at Orkney's Skara Brae in Scotland where having no wood
to work with Neolithic builders used local stone as the only readily available
Fact 4 about the Ancient Egyptian Chair: The earliest evidence of the
invention of the chair was found in the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings.
These magnificent Ancient Egyptian chairs were made of the finest and most
expensive materials such as ebony and ivory which was gilded with gold with .
5 about the Ancient Mesopotamian Chair: The civilizations of Ancient
Mesopotamia such as the Sumerians and Babylonians also had chairs, evidence of
which can be found in relief decorations and paintings of the period. The
Ancient Mesopotamians created exquisite chairs with elaborate designs that were
sheathed in gold. The Mesopotamian chair was also painted in bright colors and
inlaid with silver, gold, copper, bronze or carved ivory often featuring figures
of mythical creatures.
Fact 6 about the Greek Chair:
The Ancient Greeks designed the 'klismos chair' in the 5th century BC and is
often depicted on many fine Ancient Greek pottery pieces. The elegant klismos
chair had curved, splayed, saber legs and a concave backrest. The curved back of
the Klismos chair defines its classic shape. It is one of the most enduring
designs from classical antiquity.
Fact 7 about the Ancient Roman Chair: The
chairs in Ancient Rome were generally constructed from various wood including
maple, oak, willow, beech and yew. The Roman chair was richly decorated with
ivory, gold, tortoise shell, glass or other precious materials. The cathedra as
a later, Roman version of the Greek Klismos chair but the the curule chair is
most closely associated with Ancient Rome. The curule chair was traditionally
made of, or veneered with, ivory, and featured curved legs forming a wide X
shape. The curule chair had no back, and low arms, unlike the solium that had a
back and arm rests.
Fact 8 about the Gothic Chair: The
chairs built from the 12th to the 15th century reflected the dramatic Gothic
style of architecture and featured pointed arches, heavy carving and had a
panelled construction. The wooden chair of the era was decorated with paint or
with carving, with tracery, featuring simple flower shaped cut outs, as
Fact 9 about the Medieval Chair: The chairs of the European Medieval
period were found in the castles of the era. They were made from wood such as
Oak, Ash, Elm, Poplar, Larch and Beech. The Medieval chair was assembled with
joints that were secured by wooden pegs or iron nails. Different types of glue
was used to fasten canvas or leather the chairs as an exterior finish. Although
many of the chairs were heavy and austere looking they were in fact decorated
with Gilding, Tracery, Carved Ornamentation and Decorative Metal work and
covered with materials such as velvet, leather or tapestry work. The Medieval
chair was also painted - the most popular colors were green or red but white,
yellow, and black paint were also used. The use of paint led to the fashion of
painting heraldic designs on chairs that belonged to royalty, nobles and the
Lord of the castle.
Fact 10 about the Jacobean Chair: The Jacobean chairs (1600-1690) that
were made during the reign of King James I of England were the inspiration for
early American furniture and featured deeply carved wood of oak, pine and
mahogany. The Jacobean chair had long, lower backs, upholstered seats and the
legs of the chairs were often turned. Comfortable Farthingale chairs were
designed for ladies during the Jacobean period featuring a wide seat covered in
high-quality fabric and fitted with a cushion. The farthingale chair were so
named for its ability to accommodate the exceptionally wide-hooped skirts known
Fact 11 about the Renaissance Chair: The chair ceased to be a symbol of
power, or the mark of high office, during the Renaissance period and were
available to anyone who had the money to purchase this item of furniture. The
style and designs of chair in the Renaissance era became lighter and more
Fact 12 about the William and Mary Chair: The William and Mary style of
chair, also known as early Baroque (1690-1725), employed the new dovetailing
technique for joining furniture pieces together resulting in lighter
construction and design innovation inspired by Oriental designs. The Chinese
style of furniture was made of walnut, pine, maple and sycamore with
oriental designs and padded seats with trumpet-style legs and rounded feet.
Fact 13 about the Queen Anne Chair: The refined Queen Anne style
(1700-1755) was made from wood such as walnut or cherry with comfortable curving
shapes, cushioned seats and featured the cabriole leg. It was this period when
the wing-back chair was introduced.
Fact 14 about the Georgian Chair: The Georgian style, after King George
I, II and III, featured mahogany chairs that were rich dark red colour and were
strong and durable. The ornate designs with lavish carvings and gold
ornamentation displayed on the chair were designed by great designers such as
Chippendale, Hepplewhite, Adam and Sheraton.
Fact 15 about the Chippendale Chair: Thomas Chippendale (1718 – 1779)
designed chairs with exquisite and extensive carving. Chippendale designs fall
into three main styles: Gothic, Rococo and Chinese which were blended into
unified and harmonious designs of the Chippendale chair .
Fact 16 about the Robert Adam Chair: The famous architect and furniture
designer Robert Adam (1728 – 1792) created oval and shield back chairs with
straight legs that featured classical details to match opulent British homes.
Fact 17 about the Hepplewhite Chair: George Hepplewhite (1727 – 1786) is
closely associated with the graceful style of Neoclassicism that was delicate in
appearance and featured contrasting inlays and veneers, and the shield back
style of chair.
Fact 18 about the French Louis Style Chair: The French Louis Style Chair
was named for the kings of France - Louis XIII, Louis XIV (the Sun King), Louis
XV and Louis XVI.
Fact 19 about the Louis XIII Style Chair: The Louis XIII style reflected
French country furniture and saw the introduction of the 'Os de Mouton' (legs of
a lamb) chair upholstered seat and back with the whimsical flame stitch pattern
and nail head trim.
Fact 20 about the Louis XIV Style Chair: The Louis XIV style emerged as
the fabulous, opulent, luxurious Palace at Versailles was built. Popular chair
designs included the sun and its rays in honor of the Sun King with intricate
marquetry and stunningly beautiful gold leaf decorations.
Fact 21 about the Louis XV Style Chair: The Louis XV style of chair
featured heavy ornamentation and asymmetry using lavish veneers that were hand
painted and finely decorated with Oriental lacquers providing the finishing
touch to these works of art.
Fact 22 about the Louis XVI Style Chair: The Louis XVI style was
dominated by neo-classicism with designs taken from Greco-Roman antiquities and
classical art. In this extravagant period, when Marie-Antoinette became queen,
court chairs were created for totally ornamental reasons, often with floral
motifs with leaf bands such as acanthus, bay, or oak .
Fact 23 about the Directoire style Chair: The Directoire style emerged
during the French Revolution and replaced the flamboyant French Louis Style with
much more subdued designs. Following Napoleon's expedition to Egypt designs
included Ancient Egyptian motifs.
Fact 24 about the Sheraton Chair: Thomas Sheraton (1751 – 1806) published
his designs in “The Cabinet Makers and Upholsterers Drawing Book” in 1791
favored rosewood, satinwood and tulipwood to create beautiful inlaid decorations
and decorative motifs on mahogany. The Sheraton chair style corresponded with
the contemporary Directoire style of France that followed the French Louis
Fact 25 about the Victorian Chair: The Victorian era (1840-1910)
coincided with the Industrial Revolution and chairs were mass produced for the
very first time. The Victorian chair used many common English woods but
Mahogany, Burr Walnut, Rosewood and Ebony were also favored. The chairs were
large and ostentatious with lots of curves. The cumbersome furniture featured
button upholstery which saw the introduction of the Chesterfield with a thick
layer of well sprung upholstery that was named after the Earl of Chesterfield.
The Victorian era also witnessed the invention the
Electric Chair by Alfred P. Southwick in 1881.
Fact 26 about the Edwardian Chair: The Edwardian era (1901 -1910) began
when King Edward VII came to the throne and the dark, heavy Victorian chair
fashions were replaced with fresh, light and cheerful floral designs with pastel
colors. Edwardian chairs were often made from light materials such as wicker and
Fact 27 about the Arts and Craft style Chair: The Arts and Crafts
Movement (1880-1910) was established in Britain about 1862 by William Morris
(1834-1896), as a backlash against the mass production of the Industrial
revolution and aimed to preserve individual craftsmanship and design. The Arts
and Crafts chair was handmade using natural materials featuring simple forms
with minimal ornamentation. Arts and Crafts decorations included Celtic motifs,
stylised flowers and upside down hearts.
Fact 28 about the Art Nouveau Chair: The Art Nouveau period (1890-1910)
returned to mass production of the chair but emphasized fine craftsmanship and
the use of quality materials. Art Nouveau styles favored sinuous, elongated,
curvy lines and intricate details of stylised flowers, buds, leaves and roots.
Exotic materials such as unusual woods, iridescent glass, marquetry,
silver and semi-precious stones.
Fact 29 about the Chair - Modernism: Following WW1 the simple styles and
basic designs encompassed Modernism (1918 - 1950) with the emphasis on bold,
primary colors and abstract motifs influenced the style of the chair. Cheaper
materials were used during this period included fibreglass, formica, plastic,
melamine, vinyl, tubular steel and laminated plywood.
Fact 30 about the Chair - 1950's: The Scandinavian Design movement began
in the 1950's and was characterized by minimalism, functionality and simplicity.
The post-War 1950's also witnessed designs for the chair with originality and
flair with odd leg designs, stacking chairs and the use of materials such as
steel, plastic, enameled aluminum and wire mesh. Also during the 1950's the
Herman Miller company, led by George Nelson, began working on creating
lightweight chairs out of plywood and developed the iconic Pretzel chair, now
known as the Cherner Chair.
Fact 31 about the Chair - 1960's: The 1960's heralded the Space Age and
the chair was designed in futuristic pod shapes with stylised flower designs
reflecting the notion of psychedelia. Materials used included sturdy flexible
plastic or shiny metal to convey a futuristic appeal. Pop art and Op art emerged
in the 1960's and different patterns and colors were used to simulate movement.
Terence Conran opened Habitat in 1964. Peter Murdoch - created the disposable
paper chair using a single piece of die-cut and folded polyurethane-coated
laminated paper, which was covered in Op art designs. Peter Murdoch's cheap,
disposable paper chair was only intended to last three to six months.
Fact 32 about the Chair - 1970's: The 1970's witnessed further cheap
style and design innovations including the Bean bag. The large, rounded
bowl-shaped Papasan chair, filled with cotton fluff and with a sturdy, tubular
frame, was introduced.
Fact 33 about the Chair: 2000's The technology and digital age erupted
and computer games were invented which led to the invention of the gaming chair
that was designed to provide comfort for prolonged sitting. The gaming chair
included various styles and designs such as the video rocker, the racing chair,
the bean bag seat, and the pedestal chair.