Seating is the most basic requirement in any home. Dating back to the seventeenth century a stool would have been a symbol of rank in a communal household. Stools developed into chairs, known as 'back stools' of pegged construction - these became more and more elaborate as time progressed. In the eighteenth-century Windsor chairs were made, being more comfortable to sit on.
Chair design developed with Chippendale, Hepplewhite, Sheraton and Adam who changed the thinking of all cabinet makers. Chairs were now made with sophisticated precision, and constructed with imported woods from the Caribbean - such chairs were top of the list for any grand house. Lesser known cabinet makers were copying these designs and the emerging middle-classes were very eager to get a set of dining chairs as entertaining became increasingly important.
All furniture up to 1800 was handmade. After this time, mechanical cutting tools - such as the circular saw and the band saw - started mass production of chairs. Chairs were now developing into a new dimension not only used for dining but also used for relaxing. Horse-hair, fabric, and webbing were used up until the 1850's, but in 1857 the coil spring was patented in America - this was the start of a revolution in soft furnishing and helps date furniture more precisely.
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