Expert Advice On Selecting Folding Chairs

The History of Folding Chairs and Its Modern Variants


Folding chairs have become a necessity. Seldom, there is an outdoor event without extensive use of them. In the UK they are also used for important indoor events such as funerals, sport games and birthday parties. In fact, the widespread use of them is ubiquitous throughout the world. Perhaps, it is the portable nature of folding chairs which has given it an instant fame.


Although, folding chairs have been in constant use since many centuries, but it was Fredric Arnold Company in Brooklyn which started mass producing them, made of aluminum. Such was the demand that the Brooklyn plant was soon producing more than 14,000 chairs, every day. While most of us are aware of the function of folding chairs, few consumers ever inquire about its history.

Interestingly, the first recorded use of folding chairs goes back to Egyptian dynasty where folding stools were used for sitting and ceremonial purposes. In fact, one such famous chair was found in Tutankhamen's throne. The chair was elaborately engraved and included a back support. Historians also agree that chairs and stools were considered a status symbol in Egypt and Greece. Although, chairs of Army generals were simple in contrast to expansive seats for royalty, but both types signified grand status of their occupants. Most of these chairs were made from expensive wood which required skilled craftsmen to work diligently for many days. Such were the intricate details that modern experts still find it difficult to imitate. Actually, it is another reason that most of the historic folding chairs are on display at museums around the world.


It may not be an overstatement to suggest that Romans were the first to utilize folding chairs, extensively. The Curule chair was made famous by Romans who used it in every major ceremony. The finest example of Sellae Curules is displayed at a museum in Naples which also highlights the aristocratic nature of such chairs. Even these days, elite furniture stores of London and New York contain a replica chair made from expansive metal. Still, it was the Renaissance that saw large wooden folding chairs flourish as a common household tool. Renaissance chairs were first introduced in UK, but made popular by British naval officers in New England regions of United States. Historians agree that such chairs may have already been in extensive use in East Asian countries including Japan and China.

Modern Folding Chairs

Modern versions weight anywhere from five to ten pounds and is mostly made of metal. The most common type in UK is the one which pivot to fold at the seat level. Mechanism of folding may vary, but folding at seat level is usually preferred by the designers of metal chairs. Despite the abundance of these types of chairs, the historically famous side X stools and chairs are still used in many aristocratic houses around UK. These chairs are a restored version of historical folding chairs. Most of these chairs are made by renowned manufacturers who prefer the clothing to be hand-stitched. Normally, these designer chairs sell for more than 100 pounds.

Another primary market in the UK is premier league sports which often order huge inventory for multiple reinforced padded seats that can fall backwards to drain rainwater. Nevertheless, the modern technology has allowed designers to make steady changes in design thus allowing manufacturers to integrate beauty with craftsmanship. These skills are evident in designs of beach chairs, theatre seats and deckchairs.

Before you buy folding chairs, it is best to understand the reason of their use. It should be noted that not all folding chairs are fit for every occasion. It is often a good idea to compare various types and read specifications or consult a professional. Don't waste your hard earned money on a sales pitch, get well informed.

Dominic Munroe.

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