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The History of the Not-So Humble Folding Chair

31 May 2014

It`s probably safe to say that you don`t give much thought to the bunch of folding chairs you have stored away at the back of a hall or in a cupboard. Practical they may be, but if bought for function above and beyond everything else, it`s unlikely that any folding chair will deliver much in the form department. However, pay a little attention to the history of the humble folding chair and chances are you`ll never look at these simple little seats in the same light again. Early Origins For example, did you realise that folding chairs were already in use during the time of the Vikings, in Ancient Egypt and all across the Roman Empire? Of course, in these times it was unusual to comes across any such chairs made from metal, though some of the wooden designs of the day were so elaborate and ornate they`d put anything on the market today to shame! Folding wooden chairs created for high society featured all manner of jewels, intricate carvings and in many cases ivory accents. The very earliest evidence of folding chair use dates back to the Bronze Age, from which a stockpile of 18 folding chairs were discovered buried in the North of Europe. It would then be the Middle Ages during which folding chairs really began to hit their stride, though it would still be some time until they`d emerge in the form we recognise today. The first patent for a folding chair design was filed in the US in 1855, while a century later the company – the Fredric Arnold Company of Brooklyn – would go on to produce no less than 14,000 of the things every single day. As such, it`s unsurprising that Mr. Arnold is to a large extent credited with giving birth to the folding chair we`ve come to know and love the world over.