While there are countless different professions, most of them have one thing in common – sitting. Our lives have become such that we spend more time in our office chairs than in any other place – including our own bed at home. But although they take up such a large part of our lives, rarely do we know anything about office chairs except for how to choose the ones that feel most comfortable to us. Despite being a staple of the modern office, office chairs actually have a very long and interesting history. Here are some fun facts about them.
Architects Have Their Own Chairs
Professionals like architects, engineers and designers spend a lot of time drawing on higher work surfaces. With that being said, these professions need a different type of seating than the average office worker. This is where drafting chairs come into play. A drafting chair or also called an architect chair features a pneumatic gas lift which makes it height adjustable. Since this chair is much taller, it often includes a footrest so that the legs don’t dangle uncomfortably. Its height also allows the user to get in and out of the chair much easier, which helps promote standing. As a result, the architect chair is considered a healthier alternative to the standard office chair as it helps reduce the risk of health issues commonly caused by long-term sitting such as cardiovascular problems and back pain.
How Charles Darwin Helped the Office Chair “Evolve”
Isn’t rolling around your office the best thing about office chairs? Well, we wouldn’t be able to have so much fun with them if it wasn’t for Charles Darwin. Among the many revolutionary ideas, this world-famous scientist introduced are also mobile chairs. As Darwin spent his day running from one desk to another to study the various specimens in his office, he needed a way to speed things up and make his work more efficient. Being a man of science, he quickly solved his problem by putting wheels on his chair, thus creating the first prototype of the office chair we all know and love.
The First “Modern” Office Chair Was Rejected Due To Being “Too Comfortable”
Shortly after Darwin transformed the idea of the office chair, the American inventor Thomas E. Warren designed the so-called “Centripetal Spring Armchair”. The chair is similar to what we commonly use today – wheels, a padded backrest and armrests, and an adjustable base. Unfortunately, the idea was probably too ahead of its time as most companies dismissed it for being “too comfortable”. You see, back in the 19th century, company owners weren’t much concerned about the health and comfort of their workers.
The Popularity of Comfort
However, companies quickly changed their minds to value comfort in the workplace. But not for the reason you might think. The aim of comfortable chairs was to get workers to remain seated for as long as possible, with the belief that more work would be completed that way. Fortunately, today we are aware of the risks of long-term seating and the effects it can have on creativity and productivity. In fact, modern office design today encourages employees to regularly stand up and move around.