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Chair Backs

Chair Backs

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Chairs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Chairs also serve many different functions. As such, different styles have arisen to meet the demand. Dining chairs, recliners, rockers, arm chairs, travel chairs, folding chairs, stool chairs, the list goes on. For each of the varying demands of chairs, a unique and specific style has formed. Chair backs, legs, and arms are all designed to fit the requirements. Recliners have plush comfortable chair backs. Stool chairs have long and sturdy legs. Travel chairs can fold easily and compactly. Let's take a look at some of these aspects from chair backs to feet.

The history of the chair stretches back for many thousands of years. Originally, the chair was a symbol of stature and privilege. Benches, chests, stools, and even the floor were typical seating arrangements until the 16th century, when chairs became widespread among the common class as well as the wealthy. Over the centuries, chairs have developed and evolved. Chair backs can be as simple as a solid piece of material stretched across a chair back, or as elaborate as the intricately designed and ornately carved Chippendale styles. Legs and arms are often the focus of much detail and embellishment. From elaborate design to expensive jewels, at times these areas have been richly and heavily decorated.

Here are a few of the classical pieces, many of which have been revamped presently to fit a more modern generation. Balloon chair backs have a rounded top edge, and gradually get small as it goes down towards the seat. A banister back has long vertical bars in a row connected by an upper and lower horizontal bar. Barrel back chairs look like barrels cut in half the long way. Bergere or shepherdess chair backs have enclosed upholstered sides. Certainly one of the most practical backs is the chair table. A straight board connected by hinges or rotators acts as a table when flat, and converts into the back of a chair or bench when turned upright. Chippendale includes highly embellished and beautifully designed chairs, back, arms legs and feet. Details include splat decoration, stile carving, and ladder design.

Back in the present, a topic of hot debate is the problematic office chair. Generally speaking, office chairs should meet ergonomic requirements for the health and safety of workers. It's startling to note that among the most common disability claims are musculoskeletal back problems. These are largely caused by poor support from computer chairs. Without the proper chair backs and design, circulation is impeded, muscles are cramped or stretched tautly, and posture is simply a nightmare. It is crucial that office chair backs are ergonomically sound. There are several supportive and comfortable chairs. Kneeling without chair backs encourages good posture and distributes the weight evenly to reduce spinal compression. The saddle chair is another option for healthy seating. Reclining chair backs also provide excellent support to the lumbar area.

Other modern day chairs include vibrating and massage chair backs, adjustable chairs, lounge and deck chairs, and portable compact chairs great for camping out. Materials have also expanded from the original wood, ivory or ebony to aluminum, leather, and molded plywood.

But as always, we want what we don't have. Soon these modern styles shifted to the trendy and chic style that coined terms like "aged", "faded", and "rustic. What it all boils down to is we are paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars for pieces that our parents most likely threw away for outdated or unfashionable not so long ago.

So the history of chair backs has come full circle, and its fate is yet unknown. Perhaps manufacturers are currently designing flying chairs or ones that will do our taxes (or at least our dishes!) Only time will tell what new adventures await this exciting and useful furniture piece that has certainly stood the test of time.

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