Who invented the office chair is still a matter of controversy. What we do know for sure is that Ergonomic wheeled office chair was introduced by Herman Miller in 1970. Although first ergonomic chairs were designed in 1960’s by Donald Wolcott, Lawrence Pajer and Bill Stumpf but they didn’t succeed to commercialize it.
Ergonomic chairs had a backrest, a postural support and wheels, but they were costly and impractical. In 1970’s Charles Pollak invented first Lumbar Chair with lumbar support.
The history of the chair actually began in Egypt more than 2000 years ago where workers used stones and wood to create seats for their workers. Egyptians used to pay special attention to chairs, because they believed that the chair was a symbol of status. When gods visited them in human form, they were offered with nice chairs made of ivory and wood.
After fall of Roman Empire, seats remained for a long time in Europe very primitive and mostly unchanged. First rounded chair was created after 1450-1500 year but it was reserved for aristocracy only because it was difficult to create a mold that could make the curved surface.
When Was the First Office Chair Made?
The first office chair that we know of was made by German immigrant Philip Wagner, who lived in New York. He founded his Company ‘Modern Seat’ and started to make chairs for offices. His idea was to make a chair with adjustable height and between 1873-1882 he managed to deliver more than 6000 of them.
Later on, in 1890’s, first office chairs were made for heavy duty use. They had a metal frame, adjustable height and re-clinable backrest. They resembled later on to a modern ergonomic chair with wheels.
In the beginning of 20th century, Herman Miller was one of the biggest furniture manufacturers in America , making more than 30 different kinds of chairs. Herman Miller was office furniture manufacturer, but he also made some innovations in the field of ergonomic office chair and their first product was ‘Action Office’, introduced in 1968. In this case they were inspired by Bill Stumpf who designed his S-Chair in 1962.
Who Invented Ergonomic Chair?
In 1947 Donald Wolcott designed Varityl chair, where he used aluminum supports and nylon seat. But again, the Herman Miller Company brought back to life Wolcott’s design and introduced it in 1970 as first ergonomic office chair. Again, they were inspired by Bill Stumpf.
Who Invented Drafting Chair?
In 1868 draftsman Thomas Mendenhall Created the first Drafting Chair, Draftsman is a Architect of Pennsylania State Capitol and many other buildings in the USA was an apprentice under Herman Miller. Mendenhall soon became a chief designer of Herman Miller and between 1889-1896 he designed new office chair with wheels and adjustable height, which Charles Pollak improved further.
In 1941 Herman Miller introduced their first adjustable height chair with armrests.
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Who Invented Kneeling Chair?
Charles Pollak (1921-2004) was a designer and a researcher. He worked from 1951 to 1968 at Herman Miller Company as an ergonomist. He conducted many important studies, especially about the postural alignment in different chairs, but most of the people know him for his invention of kneeling chair. Kneeling chair or Task Chair was first made by a company in 1954 and later on it was improved by Herman Miller Company.
When Were Task Chairs Introduced?
In 1970’s Charles Pollak invented Task Chair, which was inspired from the kneeling chair design, but much more simple. They have adjustable backrest so they can serve for different kinds of work: sitting or standing. They were first made in 1972, and since that time, Task Chair is one of the most popular chair for office and home work.
Who Makes Ergonomic Task Chairs?
In 2000’s many companies started to imitate Herman Miller’s design, but their task chair wasn’t so good as those of Herman Miller Company. But they kept trying and now you can find a wide range of ergonomic task chairs on the market.
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When Were Executive Chairs Introduced?
As a sign of power and authority executives were given special chairs which had higher backrest than other office chairs. Executive chair was first made in 1850, and since that time it wasn’t changed much except for an additional lumbar support.
Since the beginning of 20th century manufacturers have tried to create more comfortable executive chair with adjustable arms and height, but they weren’t really successful until 1950’s.
Who Invented Office Chair with Wheels?
In 1938 Hungarian inventor Lazlo Biro created the first ballpoint pen and in 1945 he came to United States , where he founded Bic Corporation. In 1941 he managed to create a prototype of executive wheeled chair, but as World War Two had just ended, he abandoned the project.