Love yours or hate them. Office chairs are where we spend the majority of our week!

Charles Darwin Office Chair
Charles Darwin has a massive input into the office chairs we know today

Office Chairs come in all shapes and sizes, the swivel and bounce. How much do we really know about our office companion?

It is thought that the lowly office chair was first masterminded by Charles Darwin? He who put wheels on the bottom of his chair to be able to move from sample to sample more easily.

Sounds like a fairly good explanation. However, we can bet he didn’t know the impact he was going to have on millions of workers in the future! Don’t think we evolved to sit at an office desk but perhaps one day!

Later on, Otto von Bismarck is credited with popularising the office chair by distributing them throughout parliament during his time in office. With the development of transport throughout the country, we saw a rise of administration and account staff as firms became bigger and had wider workloads.

The Centripetal Office Chairs

American inventor Thomas E. Warren is popularly thought of as designing the first official office chair. ‘The Centripetal Spring Armchair’ which allowed office workers to sit at a desk for longer periods of time. (Thank you, Tom).

In 1925 the ‘healthy’ office chair was born. Designed by a former US Army soldier. The Do/More posture chair posits to raise productivity and improve the sitter’s health. Promising to “prevent haemorrhoids, kidney trouble and constipation Not to mention a whole host of other problems caused by slouching in competitors’ chairs,”. We could almost call him the father of ergonomic office furniture!

Vertebra Office Chairs

During the 70’s we saw a sense of style and sleekness come to the humble office chair. Emilio Ambasz and Giancarlo Piretti’s “Vertebra chair” moulding to the person. This begins to give us a glimpse of ergonomics, being more popular and thought about when designing chairs. Then in 1994, Herman Miller introduces the Aeron, a radical new design taking ergonomics even further.

Kneeling Office Chair
Kneeling Chairs – Perfect for posture

Kneeling Office Chairs

Today the choices are limitless, we have seen the kneeling office chair, the 100% adjustable all bells and whistles chair. We have even been told to ditch the chair and get a standing desk! But still, the everyday office chair stands proud in the office.

There are even rumours that Ikea will be bringing out an ultra-fitted – scan your bottom to make the mould office chair this year!

We think you can agree that this is a rich and interesting history for one piece of everyday furniture! Who knew you were sitting on so much history.

Love that? Enjoy some more fun facts on office chairs, we have come up with 10 of the best –

Office Chair Facts

  • We spend up to 17,000 hours sitting each year. That’s a lot of time for you to be connected to your office chair, make sure you have the right one!
  • Productivity is reportedly higher in ergonomic chairs. Makes sense, if you’re more comfortable then you are probably going to get more work done.
  • The barber’s chair has actually seen more innovation and change that the office chair. This proves what a good haircut really means to us!
  • The oldest chair is 5000 years old and dates back to the Egyptians.
  • The electric chair was invented in 1889. Not an altogether positive fact but always good to know for the office quiz night. On a side note, it was Thomas Edison who invented it, although we can’t be sure what he had in mind!
  • There are no chairs mentioned in the bible. We haven’t done the leg work on this one so do let us know if we are wrong. However, reportedly everyone was sitting on rocks, grass and steps in the bible but no chairs.
  • The word “cathedra” in Latin means something like “sit” and “down”
  • The earliest known reference to the game of Musical Chairs dates back to 1877.
  • Chairs came into common use only in the 16th century. We sat on benches or stones before that. We’re very glad we no longer sit on stones!
  • Thomas Jefferson is credited with creating the first-ever swivel chair. Between him and Darwin, we pretty much have the modern office chair

So there you have it, folks, office chairs have plenty to say for themselves. Perhaps next week we’ll investigate the office desk! In the meantime why not check out some of our other posts. We’ve covered ergonomics, the standing desk and the kneeling chair.

Happy National Stationery Week all.


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