Why Reclining Chairs are an American Tradition

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If you peek into just about any living room in America, chances are that you’ll find at least one well-loved reclining chair. Despite its familiarity from countless real life examples and appearances in sitcom sets, the classic recliner is not something that piques most people’s curiosity. When they think about it at all, most people assume that reclining chairs first appeared in the 1920s, when Lay-Z-Boy first started to manufacture their iconic line, but a little investigation reveals that recliners have been around in some form for at least 200 years. In this article, our team at Gibson Brothers Furniture Inc. will go over some of that history and the way it shaped reclining chairs into an American tradition.

The first reclining chairs appeared in the medical field

The first reclining chairs appeared in the medical field, when James Snell invented the first mechanical dental chair in 1832. Patients could lean back in the chair to make the footrest automatically rise up, just like the modern reclining chairs that we know today. However, the true precursor to the familiar recliner was the Morris Chair. Designed by William Morris, this chair featured a “back and seat with bars to put cushions on, moving on a hinge,” and quickly gained popularity across Europe. An updated version made its way to American around 1901, when designer Gustav Stickley created a chair that could recline at multiple angles.

When Lay-Z-Boy hit the scene in 1928, their designs changed the way Americans thought about furniture by making comfort their top priority. Although this brand is still one of the most ubiquitous, it is far from alone—here at Gibson Brothers Furniture Inc., we believe you’ll find our Southern Motion and Best Furniture recliners more than adequate to your comfort and design needs.

We at Gibson Brothers Furniture Inc. hope that you enjoyed this glimpse of the past. If you are interested in a modern reclining chair for your home, just stop by our showroom to see what we have to offer.