History and heritage of the Adirondack chair


No outdoor scene – campfire setup, cozy front porch, lakeside garden, grassy front lawn – is complete without a version of the Adirondack chair. The iconic piece of furniture is practically synonymous with primordial relaxation in nature. It is, after all, named after a mountain range. While the chair has evolved into many variations today, we have its origins stretching back over a century to thank today’s popular designs.

The Adirondack chair was first imagined in the early 1900s by Thomas lee in his family’s cottage in Westport, New York. Furniture and history buffs agree: Lee, a lover of the outdoors, wanted to create a sturdy yet comfortable chair that could handle terrain in the Adirondack Mountains, from soft, mushy ground to a small hill. From 1900 to 1903, Lee had prototypes tested by members of his family. Eventually he landed on a chair with a high back, wide armrests and an inclined seat made of knotless slabs of eastern hemlock wood.

It wasn’t really Lee who made the chair. In an interview with the Sun Community News, Lee’s great-great-nephew has confirmed that the inventor has no interest in doing so since he is already wealthy and has other business to focus on. Instead, he encouraged his friend and local carpenter Henry Bunnell to take over the project. Bunnell asked for a patent for his Westport chair (a first name for the seat) –modify the design a little by shrinking it – in 1904.

In the years that followed, other inventors put their bets on the chair, including Irving Wolpin in 1938. In 1990 the company Polywood started making Adirondack chairs from recycled plastics, which made them very weather resistant.

Today, the modern Adirondack chair often features lined wood slats instead of the original design, which used whole pieces of wood. This method makes it much easier to craft. You can now find many variations at different price points. So whether your outdoor getaway is a small area with a fire pit or a large backyard that overlooks a lake, a pair of Adirondack chairs (or more!) Is within reach.


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