A Brief History of Recliners
There was a time when your living room furniture was not complete unless there was a recliner included. Today, recliners are as popular as ever but there are more types of recliners available than ever before. America’s love affair with recliners is obvious.
This iconic style of seating has been memorialized in television shows, movies, and literature. For years recliners were the iconic “dad’s chair” as in “don’t sit there that’s dad’s seat.” They have provided support for armchair coaches to helping rest those weary legs. Where did recliners come from?
The Invention of the Recliner
The idea of a reclining chair dates back to the late 1800s in France. A reclining camp chair was designed that could be used as a lounger, a bed, and a chair in 1850. The first recliner was owned by none other than Napoleon.
This awkward early predecessor to the fluffy comfy recliners we know was made of wood with a simple padded seat and back, however, the design took off. Chairs were designed with holders on the side to contain newspapers and other reading materials, much like our modern recliners have pockets for our remotes.
The Recliner Comes to America
Even in the early days of America, we were creatures of comfort as evidenced by the early arrival of the French-designed reclining chair. Two cousins patented the first reclining chair in the US and started La-Z-Boy Recliners in 1928. The rest, as they say, is history.
For close to a hundred years recliners have graced our living rooms, provided comfort, and has given us a wonderful single person couch to lay back on. These chairs are a part of Americana culture.
As Seen On Television
Starting in the 1950’s recliners were one of the most important props in family-style sitcoms. Every household had one, and every television family had at least one. In 1959 a new type of recliner was invented that was based on ergonomics and was used by NASA to keep astronauts comfortable.
They may just be a chair to some but for many, these chairs are a deeply ingrained part of American culture. Around 8% of all furniture sales were for recliners. Napoleon would be infuriated to see how many improvements we have made to his lounging camp chair, and how we have made it a part of our culture.
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