A Scientist and a President

Charles Darwin is often credited as the creator of the very first office chair. During the 1840s, he wished for quicker movement between his specimens. So, he turned famous minds to the problem and for his seat. He removed the chair legs and replaced them with metal bed legs equipped with castors. He was then able to move between specimens without the need to get up. The actual seat remained in his office, which has been restored at an English Heritage site.

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However, contrary to popular knowledge, Darwin was not the first to dismantle furniture in the pursuit of better mobility. More than 50 years earlier, US President Thomas Jefferson sat down to write the Declaration of Independence. During this historic moment, he perched on his own design – a swivel chair. The chair seat was fitted with legs into a hole drilled into the seat bottom. However, Jefferson wanted more motion. So, he commissioned a carpenter. The top and bottom were divided by casters meaning Jefferson could pivot the seat on static legs. For modern Office Furniture Bristol, visit a site like 1st Dzine, leading suppliers of Office Furniture Bristol.

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The combination of Darwin and Jefferson’s innovation meant large steps toward the modern designs we see today. They did, though, happen at different times and on either side of the Atlantic. It wouldn’t be until 1849 until the wheel and the swivel were both incorporated in the Thomas Warren Centripetal Spring Chair. Warren added various other motions to the design as well, resulting in a chair mounted on a series of ‘springy’ steel bands which allowed the user to lean in all directions.