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You Sit On Them Every Day, But Here Are Some Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Chairs…

June 24, 2014

The Chair.

Most of us sit in them every day of our lives. Most of us probably also don’t give it a second thought. Chairs are everywhere, in all shapes and sizes and for all purposes and occasions.

But why? How? When? –How much do you really know about chairs?

Let’s pause for a moment and take a look at some of the interesting facts about chairs that most of us never think about. You may be surprised at what you will discover.

Why Chairs?

  • Early in the history, chairs were used by people of higher society – most notably in the form of thrones. Those of lower caliber sat in a simpler, backless version of the chair, called a stool.
  • Chairs found throughout the world have dated back to 2 B.C. found in the Mediterranean.
  • In Rome, chairs were rare and were either found in the form of an upright thronus or a reclined cathedra and were used during more formal occasions and lounging places for women.
  • In Medieval times, cushions were used to ease the hardness of the wooden stool or chair. These pads came in a variety of colorful patterns and colors. These pads were used in both poor and wealthy homes.
  • In the House of Commons in the UK and in Canada, the chair is recognized as the emblem of authority.
  • One of the earliest innovators of the modern office chair was Charles Darwin who added wheels to his chair so that he could get to his specimens quicker while in his study.
  • Otto von Bismarck is well known for popularizing the office chair when he distributed them throughout parliament while he was in office.

When and Where?

  1. The oldest known chairs were ceremonial furniture from An1cient Egypt 5,000 years ago.
  2. Chairs came into common use only in the 16th century. We sat on benches or stones before that.
  3. The word ‘chair’ came from ‘cathedra’, a Latin word from words meaning ‘sit’ and ‘down’
  4. A ‘cathedral’ was so called as it is the seat or chair or seat of a bishop.
  5. There is no mention of chairs in the Bible, though Shakespeare mentioned them eight times in Henry VI Part III alone.
  6. Thomas Edison invented the electric chair in 1889 to show the dangers of alternating current.
  7. Emperor Menelik II of Abyssinia bought three electric chairs and turned one into a throne when he realised that Abyssinia had no electricity.
  8. “The discontented man finds no easy chair,” (Benjamin Franklin).
  9. The earliest known reference to the game of Musical Chairs dates back to 1877.
  10. “A chair is a piece of furniture. I am not a chair because no one has ever sat on me,” (Ann Widdecombe, opposing gender-neutral language).
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