Did you ever wonder where Adirondack Chairs came from? All things considered, it’s a pretty unique looking chair, never mind the name itself. You probably even wonder how to state Adirondack. Well, try this: ad-uh-Ron-dark. So now we’ve cleared that myth, on with the real history lesson!
Adirondack Chairs have been around since 1903, each time a guy called Thomas Lee decided he needed a couch to sit on whilst on his family vacation. You see, at his summer home in Westport, New York, Mr Lee did have no chairs to use outdoors. After tinkering with several items of wood he created a chair that resembled what we now know since the Adirondack Chair.
The very first design for his Adirondack Chairs was created of just 11 bits of wood, cut from one large single piece. He decided to set the seat at a slant so that it could be simpler to take a seat on the slopes of none other compared to the Adirondack mountains! Surprisingly, Mr Lee’s family, whom he used as guinea pigs, thought it was actually quite comfortable! And the wide arm rests were suitable for setting their mugs of hot coffee on, while they sat & admired the scenery – a feature that we have come to learn and love as typical in these fabulous chairs!
So how did this basic design get from there to here? Will Thomas wasn’t thinking about taking it any longer, after he’d made what he required for his family. But he had a friend who had been a carpenter – a man who broke and needed to produce a crust to feed his family, so Mr Lee gave it to his carpenter friend, Harry Bunnell. Mr Bunnell liked this idea greatly & proceeded to produce the initial ‘Westport’ chairs into a thing that the wealthy local residents could use within the summer. In fact, it sold so well, he did no more than getting their own patent, just two years after Thomas Lee had come up with the original idea. Some friend – he never even told Thomas! But they were friends, so it absolutely was OK – actually Thomas was happy that his friend could finally create a decent living.
Harry proceeded to produce the first design & continued to create his Westport chairs (named after the area town close to the Adirondack Mountains) for a lot more than 25 years! Despite not being the perfect wood for his plastic patio furniture, Harry used Hemlock & Basswood because it absolutely was so common in his local area. He even stamped his US patent number on the backrest & sometimes, even painted them a black red, brown, but mostly they were an all natural wood chair. Today, cedar is probably the most popular wood for making Adirondack Chairs, mainly for its strong properties.
Harry’s distribution of his Adirondack Chairs was quite limited, in reality he never sold them outside a 100 square mile radius. But a Georgia carpenter called David Vidic saw the concept & stumbled on the conclusion a southern version would sell well. He modified the look & gave it four straight legs so it would enable you to sit more upright – well, there have been no mountains to look at in Georgia!
Nowadays Adirondack Chairs have evolved and you should buy a number of shapes & sizes in a variety of materials. The latest ‘thing’ may be the recycled poly lumber product. It’s an eco-friendly material produced from recycled products, like plastic bottles – much better than letting them all end up in a landfill. The recycled material can be stated in a number of colors, so unlike wood, which would probably need painting periodically, they stay good throughout every season! And maintenance of your recycled Adirondack Chairs is simple as they can be hosed down for cleaning & they could also resist the harsh extremes of weather conditions wherever you live. Given that seems like advisable – no maintenance!