Chairs: The Recliner Is Born

by Fabian Toulouse

From the ground to the carpet to the stone to the stool to the chair, the exact date the first chair was crafted is hidden in the fog of history. The most ornate chairs in antiquity were reserved for the landed gentry and royalty. In medieval Europe, the Church fathers and royals enjoyed elaborate chairs, neigh thrones. The flourishing of craftsmanship during the Renaissance saw the dissemination of chairs for public consumption.

The chairs of medieval Europe could be quite sumptuous. The Chair of Dagobet, cast from bronze, is on display at the Louvre Museum. During the Renaissance, chairs seem to have been crafted solely for the sake of comfort. They were stuffed with down and fabrics and were marketed for mass consumption, at least among the growing middle class.

The chairs of medieval Europe could be quite sumptuous. The Chair of Dagobet, cast from bronze, is on display at the Louvre Museum. During the Renaissance, chairs seem to have been crafted solely for the sake of comfort. They were stuffed with down and fabrics and were marketed for mass consumption, at least among the growing middle class.

The rocking chair, in contrast to the foggy origins of the chair itself, was created around 1740 in Sweden. It was crafted with six legs and was referred to as the “Gungstol,” which simply means “rocking chair.” In England, during the same year, the Windsor Rocker was made. This rocker had spindles on the sides and back and had 4 legs connected to the rockers.

The most popular chair to date is not the rocker, rather, its the recliner. The recliner dates back to 1780 and the court of Louis XVI. Napoleon also had a trial version of the today’s reclining chair. A padded version of the reclining chair appeared in 1887. Its popularity has everything to with its reclining mechanism, allowing people to comfort of lifting their feet and relaxing in a semi-reclined position.

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