The Chair


When was the Chair invented? Historians tend to agree that the Chair was invented in c. 2600 B.C. and the first known use of the Chair was during the Ancient Egyptian period in history known as the Early Dynastic Period (3100 - 2686 BCE) of invention.

Who invented the Chair? The name of a specific person has never been credited with the invention of the Chair. The chair differed from a 3 legged stool or larger bench seat, having 4 legs, a back and arm rests and was reserved for the elite. These first chairs developed into highly ornate status symbols that were typically accessed by steps leading to a platform or dais by a king or religious leader. Backs and arm rests began to be added to seats and the chair ceased to be a symbol of power, or the mark of high office, during the Renaissance era. The materials used to make portable chairs evolved from expensive materials such as ebony, precious metals, velvet and silk to more affordable wood or leather.    

Who invented the Chair? Famous Designers: Chair designs evolved through the ages and names such as Chippendale, Robert Adams, Hepplewhite, Sheraton and Duncan Phyfe are all synonymous with great styles and chair designs.   


Facts about who invented the Chair


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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 material.

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 . 

Fact 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 principal element.

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 as farthingales. 

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 refined.

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 Style.

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 bamboo.

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.

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