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Did You Know? — Fun Furniture Facts

“Shin: Device for finding furniture in the dark.”

Every year, U.S. Companies purchase:

  1. 16.5 million chairs
  2. 4.5 million tables
  3. 11 million file cabinets
  4. 3 million desks

The first desks appeared in the late 17th century as bureaus, also known as a sloping front desk where the writing surface could be opened and closed. This design was later followed by a knee-hole design with drawers on either side of the knee-hole and could be placed into a cupboard. Mahogany, from the Caribbean islands, became a luxury item for wealthy patrons. It was with the UK Industrial Revolution in the early 19th century, where the business class took hold of the market and fashioned up the desk we use today.

The Resolute Desk

There were actually 4 desks made from the wood of the HMS Resolute

  • One large Partners Desk for President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880
  • A smaller lady’s desk for the widow of Henry Grinnell — who was instrumental in salvaging the HMS Resolute and restoring the ship as a gift to Great Britain
  • 2 twin desks for Queen Victoria
  • One of which she gave to the President and the people of the United States and one for herself to be placed on her yacht.

The Chair

  • Early in the history, chairs were used by people of higher society – most notably in the form of thrones. Those of lower caliber sat in a simpler, backless version of the chair, called a stool.
  • Chairs found throughout the world have dated back to 2 B.C. found in the Mediterranean.
  • In Rome, chairs were rare and were either found in the form of an upright thronus or a reclined cathedra and were used during more formal occasions and lounging places for women.
  • In Medieval times, cushions were used to ease the hardness of the wooden stool or chair. These pads came in a variety of colorful patterns and colors. These pads were used in both poor and wealthy homes.
  • In the House of Commons in the UK and in Canada, the chair is recognized as the emblem of authority.
  • One of the earliest innovators of the modern office chair was Charles Darwin who added wheels to his chair so that he could get to his specimens quicker while in his study.
  • Otto von Bismarck is well known for popularizing the office chair when he distributed them throughout parliament while he was in office.

The Bookcase

  • More than 147 million items are on approximately 838 miles of bookshelves at the Library of Congress.
  • The oldest bookcase is found in England in the Bodleian Library at Oxford University

Office Furniture

  • New office equipment and furniture were popular exhibits during the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.
  • The first commercial offices appeared in industrial cities throughout the north in the United Sates in the late 19th century.