One of the basic pieces of furniture, a chair is a type of seat. Its primary features are two pieces of a durable material, attached as back and seat to one another at a 90° or slightly greater angle, with usually the four corners of the horizontal seat attached in turn to four legs—or other parts of the seat's underside attached to three legs or to a shaft about which a four-arm turnstile on rollers can turn—strong enough to support the weight of a person who sits on the seat (usually wide and broad enough to hold the lower body from the buttocks almost to the knees) and leans against the vertical back (usually high and wide enough to support the back to the shoulder blades). The legs are typically high enough for the seated person's thighs and knees to form a 90° or lesser angle.Used in a number of rooms in homes (e.g. in living rooms, dining rooms, and dens), in schools and offices (with desks), and in various other workplaces, chairs may be made of wood, metal, or synthetic materials, and either the seat alone or the entire chair may be padded or upholstered in various colors and fabrics.
Chairs vary in design. An armchair has armrests fixed to the seat;a recliner is upholstered and under its seat is a mechanism that allows one to lower the chair's back and raise into place a fold-out footrest; a rocking chair has legs fixed to two long curved slats; and a wheelchair has wheels fixed to an axis under the seat.
Chair comes from the early 13th-century English word chaere, from Old French chaiere ("chair, seat, throne"), from Latin cathedra ("seat").
The chair has been used since antiquity, although for many centuries it was a symbolic article of state and dignity rather than an article for ordinary use. "The chair" is still used as the emblem of authority in the House of Commons in the United Kingdom [ citation needed ]and Canada, and in many other settings. In keeping with this historical connotation of the "chair" as the symbol of authority, committees, boards of directors, and academic departments all have a 'chairman' or 'chair'. Endowed professorships are referred to as chairs. It was not until the 16th century that chairs became common. Until then, people sat on chests, benches, and stools, which were the ordinary seats of everyday life. The number of chairs which have survived from an earlier date is exceedingly limited; most examples are of ecclesiastical, seigneurial or feudal origin.
Chairs were in existence since at least the Early Dynastic Period of Egypt (c. 3100 BC). They were covered with cloth or leather, were made of carved wood, and were much lower than today's chairs – chair seats were sometimes only 10 inches (25 cm) high. In ancient Egypt chairs appear to have been of great richness and splendor. Fashioned of ebony and ivory, or of carved and gilded wood, they were covered with costly materials, magnificent patterns and supported upon representations of the legs of beasts or the figures of captives. Generally speaking, the higher ranked an individual was, the taller and more sumptuous was the chair he sat on and the greater the honor. On state occasions the pharaoh sat on a throne, often with a little footstool in front of it.
The average Egyptian family seldom had chairs, and if they did, it was usually only the master of the household who sat on a chair. Among the better off, the chairs might be painted to look like the ornate inlaid and carved chairs of the rich, but the craftsmanship was usually poor.
The earliest images of chairs in China are from sixth-century Buddhist murals and stele, but the practice of sitting in chairs at that time was rare. It wasn't until the twelfth century that chairs became widespread in China. Scholars disagree on the reasons for the adoption of the chair. The most common theories are that the chair was an outgrowth of indigenous Chinese furniture, that it evolved from a camp stool imported from Central Asia, that it was introduced to China by Christian missionaries in the seventh century, and that the chair came to China from India as a form of Buddhist monastic furniture. In modern China, unlike Korea or Japan, it is no longer common to sit at floor level.
In Europe, it was owing in great measure to the Renaissance that the chair ceased to be a privilege of state and became a standard item of furniture for anyone who could afford to buy it. Once the idea of privilege faded the chair speedily came into general use. Almost at once the chair began to change every few years to reflect the fashions of the day.
Thomas Edward Bowdich visited the main Palace of the Ashanti Empire in 1819, and observed chairs engrossed with gold in the empire.In the 1880s, chairs became more common in American households and usually there was a chair provided for every family member to sit down to dinner. By the 1830s, factory-manufactured “fancy chairs” like those by Sears. Roebuck, and Co. allowed families to purchase machined sets. With the Industrial Revolution, chairs became much more available.
The 20th century saw an increasing use of technology in chair construction with such things as all-metal folding chairs, metal-legged chairs, the Slumber Chair,[ citation needed ] moulded plastic chairs and ergonomic chairs. The recliner became a popular form, at least in part due to radio and television.
The modern movement of the 1960s produced new forms of chairs: the butterfly chair (originally called the Hardoy chair), bean bags, and the egg-shaped pod chair that turns. It also introduced the first mass-produced plastic chairs such as the Bofinger chair in 1966.Technological advances led to molded plywood and wood laminate chairs, as well as chairs made of leather or polymers. Mechanical technology incorporated into the chair enabled adjustable chairs, especially for office use. Motors embedded in the chair resulted in massage chairs.
Chairs can be made from wood, metal, or other strong materials, like stone or acrylic. In some cases, multiple materials are used to construct a chair; for example, the legs and frame may be made from metal and the seat and back may be made from plastic. Chairs may have hard surfaces of wood, metal, plastic, or other materials, or some or all of these hard surfaces may be covered with upholstery or padding. The design may be made of porous materials, or be drilled with holes for decoration; a low back or gaps can provide ventilation. The back may extend above the height of the occupant's head, which can optionally contain a headrest. Chairs can also be made from more creative materials, such as recycled materials like cutlery and wooden play bricks, pencils, plumbing tubes, rope, corrugated cardboard, and PVC pipe.
In rare cases, chairs are made out of unusual materials, especially as a form of art or experimentation. Raimonds Cirulis, a Latvian interior designer, created a volcanic hanging chair that is a handmade out of volcanic rock. 60 pounds (27 kg) of confectioners' sugar.Peter Brenner, a Dutch-born German designer, has created a chair made from lollipop sugar –
Chair design considers intended usage, ergonomics (how comfortable it is for the occupant),as well as non-ergonomic functional requirements such as size, stacking ability, folding ability, weight, durability, stain resistance, and artistic design. Intended usage determines the desired seating position. "Task chairs", or any chair intended for people to work at a desk or table, including dining chairs, can only recline very slightly; otherwise the occupant is too far away from the desk or table. Dental chairs are necessarily reclined. Easy chairs for watching television or movies are somewhere in between depending on the height of the screen.
Ergonomic design distributes the weight of the occupant to various parts of the body. A seat that is higher results in dangling feet and increased pressure on the underside of the knees ("popliteal fold"). It may also result in no weight on the feet which means more weight elsewhere. A lower seat may shift too much weight to the "seat bones" ("ischial tuberosities").
A reclining seat and back will shift weight to the occupant's back. This may be more comfortable for some in reducing weight on the seat area, but may be problematic for others who have bad backs. In general, if the occupant is supposed to sit for a long time, weight needs to be taken off the seat area and thus "easy" chairs intended for long periods of sitting are generally at least slightly reclined. However, reclining may not be suitable for chairs intended for work or eating at table.
The back of the chair will support some of the weight of the occupant, reducing the weight on other parts of the body. In general, backrests come in three heights: Lower back backrests support only the lumbar region. Shoulder height backrests support the entire back and shoulders. Headrests support the head as well and are important in vehicles for preventing "whiplash" neck injuries in rear-end collisions where the head is jerked back suddenly. Reclining chairs typically have at least shoulder-height backrests to shift weight to the shoulders instead of just the lower back.
Some chairs have foot rests. Around 15% of women and 2% of men need foot rests, even at the 16-inch (41 cm) chair height. A stool or other simple chair may have a simple straight or curved bar near the bottom for the sitter to place their feet on.
Some chairs have two curved bands of wood (also known as rockers) attached to the bottom of the legs. They are called rocking chairs.
A kneeling chair adds an additional body part, the knees, to support the weight of the body. A sit-stand chair distributes most of the weight of the occupant to the feet. Many chairs are padded or have cushions. Padding can be on the seat of the chair only, on the seat and back, or also on any arm rests or foot rest the chair may have. Padding will not shift the weight to different parts of the body (unless the chair is so soft that the shape is altered). However, padding does distribute the weight by increasing the area of contact between the chair and the body. A hard wood chair feels hard because the contact point between the occupant and the chair is small. The same body weight over a smaller area means greater pressure on that area. Spreading the area reduces the pressure at any given point. In lieu of padding, flexible materials, such as wicker, may be used instead with similar effects of distributing the weight. Since most of the body weight is supported in the back of the seat, padding there should be firmer than the front of the seat which only has the weight of the legs to support. Chairs that have padding that is the same density front and back will feel soft in the back area and hard to the underside of the knees.
There may be cases where padding is not desirable, such as chairs that are intended primarily for outdoor use. Where padding is not desirable, contouring may be used instead. A contoured seat pan attempts to distribute weight without padding. By matching the shape of the occupant's buttocks, weight is distributed and maximum pressure is reduced.
Actual chair dimensions are determined by measurements of the human body or anthropometric measurements. The two most relevant anthropometric measurement for chair design is the popliteal height and buttock popliteal length.
For someone seated, the popliteal height is the distance from the underside of the foot to the underside of the thigh at the knees. It is sometimes called the "stool height". The term "sitting height" is reserved for the height to the top of the head when seated. For American men, the median popliteal height is 16.3 inches (410 mm) and for American women it is 15.0 inches (380 mm). The popliteal height, after adjusting for heels, clothing and other issues, is used to determine the height of the chair seat. Mass-produced chairs are typically 17 inches (430 mm) high.[ citation needed ]
For someone seated, the buttock popliteal length is the horizontal distance from the back most part of the buttocks to the back of the lower leg. This anthropometric measurement is used to determine the seat depth. Mass-produced chairs are typically 15–17 inches (38–43 cm) deep.[ citation needed ]
Additional anthropometric measurements may be relevant to designing a chair. Research has shown that the best seated posture is a reclined posture of 100°–110°.Hip breadth is used for chair width and armrest width. Elbow rest height is used to determine the height of the armrests. The buttock-knee length is used to determine "leg room" between rows of chairs. "Seat pitch" is the distance between rows of seats. In some airplanes and stadiums the leg room (the seat pitch less the thickness of the seat at thigh level) is so small that it is sometimes insufficient for the average person.
For adjustable chairs, such as an office chair, the aforementioned principles are applied in adjusting the chair to the individual occupant. Caster wheels are attached to the feet of chairs to give more mobility. Gas springs are attached to the body of the chair in order to give height adjustment and more comfort to the user.
A chair may or may not have armrests; chairs with armrests are termed "armchairs". In French, a distinction is made between fauteuil and chaise, the terms for chairs with and without armrests, respectively. In Germany, an armchair was once called a Krankensessel, or sick-chair, because it was intended for people who were too ill to stand or sit without extra support.
If present, armrests will support part of the body weight through the arms if the arms are resting on the armrests. Armrests further have the function of making entry and exit from the chair easier (but from the side it becomes more difficult). Armrests should support the forearm and not the sensitive elbow area. Hence in some chair designs, the armrest is not continuous to the chair back, but is missing in the elbow area.
Chair seats vary widely in construction and may or may not match construction of the chair's back (backrest).
Some systems include:
Design considerations for chairs have been codified into standards. ISO 9241, "Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs) – Part 5: Workstation layout and postural requirements", is the most common one for modern chair design.
There are multiple specific standards for different types of chairs. Dental chairs are specified by ISO 6875. Bean bag chairs are specified by ANSI standard ASTM F1912-98.ISO 7174 specifies stability of rocking and tilting chairs. ASTM F1858-98 specifies plastic lawn chairs. ASTM E1822-02b defines the combustibility of chairs when they are stacked.
The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer's Association (BIFMA)defines ANSI/BIFMA X5.1 (titled: General-Purpose Office Chairs – Tests) for testing of commercial-grade chairs. It specifies things like:
The specification further defines heavier "proof" loads that chairs must withstand. Under these higher loads, the chair may be damaged, but it must not fail catastrophically.
Large institutions that make bulk purchases will reference these standards within their own even more detailed criteria for purchase.Governments will often issue standards for purchases by government agencies (e.g. Canada's Canadian General Standards Board CAN/CGSB 44.15M on "Straight Stacking Chair, Steel" or CAN/CGSB 44.232-2002 on "Task Chairs for Office Work with Visual Display Terminal").
Chairs may be rated by the length of time that they may be used comfortably – an 8-hour chair, a 24-hour chair, and so on. Such chairs are specified for tasks which require extended periods of sitting, such as for receptionists or supervisors of a control panel.
In place of a built-in footrest, some chairs come with a matching ottoman . An ottoman is a short stool that is intended to be used as a footrest but can sometimes be used as a stool. If matched to a glider chair, the ottoman may be mounted on swing arms so that the ottoman rocks back and forth with the main glider.
A chair cover is a temporary fabric cover for a side chair. They are typically rented for formal events such as wedding receptions to increase the attractiveness of the chairs and decor. The chair covers may come with decorative chair ties, a ribbon to be tied as a bow behind the chair. Covers for sofas and couches are also available for homes with small children and pets. In the second half of the 20th century, some people used custom clear plastic covers for expensive sofas and chairs to protect them.
Chair pads are cushions for chairs. They contain cotton or foam for padding. Some are decorative. In cars, they may be used to increase the height of the driver. Orthopedic backrests provide support for the back. Car seats sometimes have built-in and adjustable lumbar supports. These can also be used on kitchen chairs.
Chair mats are mats meant to cover different types of flooring. They are usually made from plastic. This allows chairs on wheels to roll easily over the carpet and protects the carpet or floor. They come in various shapes, some specifically sized to fit partially under a desk.
Remote control bags can be draped over the arm of easy chairs or sofas and used to hold remote controls for home cinemas. They are counter-weighted so as to not slide off the arms under the weight of the remote controls.
Chair glides are attached to the feet of chairs to prevent them from scratching or snagging on the floor.
An antimacassar is a cloth covering for a headrest to protect the fabric and enable easy washing.
The Broken Chair is a monumental sculpture in wood, constructed of 5.5 tons of wood, 12 metres (39 ft) high standing across the street from the Palace of Nations in Geneva. It has broken leg symbolizing opposition to land mines and cluster bombs. In 2001, Steve Mann exhibited a chair sculpture at San Francisco Art Institute. The chair had spikes that retracted when a credit card was inserted to download a seating license. Later other museums and galleries were equipped with the "Pay to Sit" chair, with a global central seating license server located in Toronto. The first sitting session was free, with a database of persons who had already used their free session.
In a performance piece at the 2012 Republican Political Convention, Clint Eastwood addressed an empty chair, as if it represented President Barack Obama (meant to be construed as MIA or ineffectual). The address was controversial, whether it was poignant or bizarre.Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka has created several chairs as art forms such as "Honey-pop": honey-comb paper chair (2001), "Pane chair": natural fiber chair (2006), "Venus": natural crystal chair (2007).
New York industrial designer Ian Stell creates steel and wood kinetic sculpture s that transform into chairs, including Roll Bottom Chair (2016) that turns into a secretariat desk and Loop that transforms into two interlocking chairs when expanded (2015).
A seat is a place to sit. The term may encompass additional features, such as back, armrest, head restraint but also headquarters in a wider sense.
Furniture refers to movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating, eating (tables), and sleeping. Furniture is also used to hold objects at a convenient height for work, or to store things. Furniture can be a product of design and is considered a form of decorative art. In addition to furniture's functional role, it can serve a symbolic or religious purpose. It can be made from many materials, including metal, plastic, and wood. Furniture can be made using a variety of woodworking joints which often reflect the local culture.
A couch, also known as a sofa, settee, futon, or chesterfield is a piece of furniture for seating two or three people. It is commonly found in the form of a bench, with upholstered armrests, and often fitted with springs and tailored cushions. Although a couch is used primarily for seating, it may be used for sleeping. In homes, couches are normally found in the family room, living room, den or lounge. They are sometimes also found in non-residential settings such as hotels, lobbies of commercial offices, waiting rooms, and bars.
Upholstery is the work of providing furniture, especially seats, with padding, springs, webbing, and fabric or leather covers. The word upholstery comes from the Middle English word upholder, which referred to an artisan who held up their goods. The term is equally applicable to domestic, automobile, airplane and boat furniture, and can be applied to mattresses, particularly the upper layers, though these often differ significantly in design. A person who works with upholstery is called an upholsterer. An apprentice upholsterer is sometimes called an outsider or trimmer. Traditional upholstery uses materials like coil springs (post-1850), animal hair, coir, straw and hay, hessians, linen scrims, wadding, etc., and is done by hand, building each layer up. In contrast, today's upholsterers employ synthetic materials like dacron and vinyl, serpentine springs, and so on.
A car seat is the seat used in automobiles. Most car seats are made from inexpensive but durable material in order to withstand prolonged use. The most common material is polyester.
Chairs are known from Ancient Egypt and have been widespread in the Western world from the Greeks and Romans onwards. They were in common use in China from the twelfth century, and were used by the Aztecs.
The Eames Lounge Chair and ottoman are furnishings made of molded plywood and leather, designed by Charles and Ray Eames for the Herman Miller furniture company. They are officially titled Eames Lounge (670) and Ottoman (671) and were released in 1956 after years of development by designers. It was the first chair that the Eameses designed for a high-end market. Examples of these furnishings are part of the permanent collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art.
Poul Henningsen was a Danish author, critic, architect, and designer. In Denmark, where he often is referred to simply as PH, he was one of the leading figures of the cultural life of Denmark between the World Wars. His novel works of Danish modern designs are featured in many museums. He is most commonly associated with his design of the PH-lamp series of incandescent lamps.
An office chair, or desk chair, is a type of chair that is designed for use at a desk in an office. It is usually a swivel chair, with a set of wheels for mobility and adjustable height. Modern office chairs typically use a single, distinctive load bearing leg, which is positioned underneath the chair seat. Near the floor this leg spreads out into several smaller feet, which are often wheeled and called casters. Office chairs were developed around the mid-19th century as more workers spent their shifts sitting at a desk, leading to the adoption of several features not found on other chairs.
A folding chair is a type of folding furniture, a light, portable chair that folds flat or to a smaller size, and can be stored in a stack, in a row, or on a cart.
Bar stools are a type of tall chair, often with a foot rest to support the feet. The height and narrowness of bar stools makes them suitable for use at bars and high tables in pubs or bars.
A recliner is an armchair or sofa that reclines when the occupant lowers the chair's back and raises its front. It has a backrest that can be tilted back, and often a footrest that may be extended by means of a lever on the side of the chair, or may extend automatically when the back is reclined.
The "REX" Chair is a Slovenian wood chair design that is included in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art MOMA in New York City and was designed by Slovene architect and designer Niko Kralj (1920-2013) in 1952. In 2012, it was given a permanent place in Designmuseum, Denmark, the largest museum of design in Scandinavia. It became a cult object for design lovers around the globe with its calm contemporary elegance and a feeling of floating. It is the most internationally notable Slovenian design item and in 2004, at the 50 years anniversary of its development there was at the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana an exhibition devoted to the REX chair. REX chair was ranked at the second place as the Slovenian product of 20th century according to the ″Finance″ newspaper in 1999.
The Eames Lounge Chair Wood (LCW) is a low seated easy chair designed by husband and wife team Charles and Ray Eames.
A wheelchair is a chair with wheels, used when walking is difficult or impossible due to illness, injury, old age related problems, or disability. These can include spinal cord injuries, broken leg(s), cerebral palsy, brain injury, osteogenesis imperfecta a.k.a. brittle bones, motor neurone disease (MND), multiple sclerosis (MS), muscular dystrophy (MD), spina bifida, and more. Wheelchairs come in a wide variety of formats to meet the specific needs of their users. They may include specialized seating adaptions, individualized controls, and may be specific to particular activities, as seen with sports wheelchairs and beach wheelchairs. The most widely recognized distinction is between powered wheelchairs, where propulsion is provided by batteries and electric motors, and manually propelled wheelchairs, where the propulsive force is provided either by the wheelchair user/occupant pushing the wheelchair by hand ("self-propelled"), by an attendant pushing from the rear using handle(s), or by an attendant pushing from the side use a handle attachment.
Computer-aided ergonomics is an engineering discipline using computers to solve complex ergonomic problems involving interaction between the human body and its environment. The human body holds a great complexity thus it can be beneficial to use computers to solve problems involving the human body and the environment that surrounds it.
A stool is one of the earliest forms of seat furniture. It bears many similarities to a chair. It consists of a single seat, for one person, without back or armrests, on a base of a stool there are either one, two, three or four legs. A stool is generally distinguished from chairs by their lack of arms and a back. Variants exist with one, two or five legs and these various stools are referred to by some people as "backless chairs". Some modern stools have backs. Folding stools can become flat, typically by rotating the seat to be parallel with fold-up legs.
There are few survivals of ancient Greek and Roman furniture, but a number of images in reliefs, painted pottery and other media. It was normally made of wood, but expensive examples were often fitted with metalwork elements, which have a better chance of survival. The styles were generally rather light and elegant in upper-class furniture, and by modern standards apparently not heavily upholstered.
Molded plywood is the term for two- or three-dimensionally shaped products from multiple veneer layers that are glued together through heat and pressure in a pressing tool. The veneer layers are arranged crosswise at an angle of 90 degrees. Molded wood is used for flat furniture components such as seats, backrests and seat shells. When the veneer layers are arranged in the same direction, it is called laminated wood. It is used for armrests and chair frames. After pressing, the blanks are processed mechanically. A particular feature is the ability to produce different variations of shapes from the blanks. Due to its immense strength and low weight, molded wood is particularly suitable for interior decoration, seating furniture, bed slats, skateboards and vehicle construction.
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