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Folding Church Chairs – A Not So Humble History

15 December 2015

You'd be forgiven for thinking that the folding chair as we know it today was something of a contemporary invention. It’s no secret that folding church chairs for example have been around for quite some time, but it never fails to surprise the majority of people just how long people in various parts of the world have been making full use of these outstanding conveniences.

Let's put it this way – if you were wondering exactly who it was that invented the folding chair in the first place, this is one question we will never, ever have the answer to. The reason being that history has shown us how various rudimentary types of folding chairs were being used as far back as Egyptian times – that being in the region of 1500BC to 2000BC.  Or to put it another way, the folding chair has been used in one capacity or another by somewhere in the region of 4000 years now – tracking down the person responsible for inventing it may therefore prove rather tricky!

 

In its original form, the folding chair materialised as a leather-seated folding wooden chair, which was apparently used by army commanders and superior officers while out in the field. This military theme continued for some time and the folding chair would go on to be something of a staple feature in so many of the world's biggest and bloodiest battles. In fact, the crossed legs positioned at the front of the chair instead of laterally created an ‘X’ shape that would become widely recognised as a symbol of power, authority and general importance.

 

Much as it may appear to be something of a simple item today, it actually took thousands of years for the humble folding chair to become something of a mainstream item. Once a symbol of power and prestige, it was closer to the 19th century when the folding chair had become a standard addition to so many settings – effectively rubbing off its appeal as a status symbol. Designs became less sophisticated, materials became more readily available and before anyone knew it, there were literally hundreds of thousands of the things doing the rounds all over the world!

 

And that pretty much brings things up to how they remain today. So while it may be fair to say that those humble folding chairs in Schools, Churches, Community Centres and at outdoor events you've never given a second thought to might not be the most interesting items you’ll ever come across, the same really cannot be said for their long and colourful history!