Adirondack Chair

13October 2021

You see this chair on porches and beaches, the Adirondack chair. The back is made of five to seven boards that form an arch with the tallest board in the center and have a gentle slope. The seat starts on the floor and rises at a slant. Armrests are flat and look like paddles. It is iconic and easily recognized.

Throughout the 19th Century and even into the 20th Century tuberculosis (then called consumption for the way it ate at its victims) was a major health crisis. Highly communicable, this bacterial pulmonary disease was (and remains) a world pandemic. People who were diagnosed with this disease often went to the mountains for the fresh air and solitude in an effort to regain their health. Marc Cook, a New York City office worker, did this, recovered and wrote a book about it. The result was a number of sanatoriums emerging in the Adirondacks as treatment centers.

Along comes Thomas Lee, part of a wealthy Massachusetts family, who had a home on Lake Champlain. Tired of uncomfortable benches, he decided he would design the perfect lounging chair. It was pretty much what we recognize today, but it had a solid back, rather than the slats, and he called it the Westport chair. Lee offered the design to Harry Bunnell, a carpenter, who patented the chair under the name Adirondack chair.

Vintage adirondack chair
“NW Beulah MI c.1940 RPPC RUSTIC FURNITURE Adirondack Chairs & SwingsTHE CRYSTAL INN a favorite Hotel & Dining Destination in Downtown on Crystal Lake ORIGINALLY CALLED THE BEULAH INN2” by UpNorth Memories – Don Harrison is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The wide armrests provide a great place to set a beverage or to hold the book you are reading. Its perfect arch is comfortable without the need for pillows or head supports. That is why it continues to be popular even into the 21st Century.

As you decide to upgrade or replace your outdoor furniture, don’t overlook this piece. It is ergonomic in that it keeps your feet elevated and back flat, which actually aids in blood flow and relief from muscle tension.

It is versatile because it can look great almost anywhere you place it. Of course, the front porch or back patio. Use it around a fire pit for great conversations over s’mores and wiener roasts. They will work around pool side. Similarly they can be purchased in a portable version and taken to the seaside, river bank, or park. A garage converted into a man cave, or in a she shed, this is the perfect alone chair for relaxation and quiet.

A quality Adirondack chair will last for decades. After all this time, it is still considered a trendsetter. Providing proper weight distribution, you can lounge for hours and still move comfortably when you decide to head to the kitchen for a snack. The wood can be stained or painted to coordinate with the exterior of your home. They are chic and sophisticated but homey at the same time. So, for entertaining or personal time, this is one of the best purchases you can make. It is available through the internet, at big box stores, or through individuals at various price levels.

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