A Quick Glimpse Into the Evolution of Office Chairs

It’s nice to know that people are dramatically increasing their awareness of how ergonomics can help achieve a better quality of life. Sit-stand desks and other ergonomic chairs, for instance, play a vital role in making people more comfortable while working and mitigate the risks caused by a sedentary lifestyle. Of course, it’s interesting to know how we got here and how office chairs evolved and become part of our lives. 

If you work in a company that provides standing desks and other ergonomic tools such as chairs, anti-fatigue mats, mice, and keyboards, then count yourself lucky. Unfortunately, today, most people who work office jobs still use normal chairs and desks and sit for long periods of time without leaving their desks. 

If this is you, then we are here to tell you that something has to change for the better, otherwise your physical and mental health will suffer. This is not to say that you have to make your boss buy you a standing desk. However, it is worth understanding what the hype is about when it comes to ergonomic furniture, how it has evolved over time, and if it is worth the investment (it is!). 

Looking Back on How Office Chairs Evolved and Developed

If we want to find the earliest depictions of seating, we need to go back to 3000 BC when the world’s first chairs were made, according to the book entitled, “A History of Seating, 3000 BC to 2000 A.D.” written by Jenny Pynt and Joy Higgs.  The story they weave reveals the shifts in designs of chairs as we moved from a mobile, active society to one that spends most of our time sitting on our rears. 

Starting with logs for resting, there were some progressive advancements, for instance, a stool designed with three legs and a curved seat that made tilting forward to work and hammer easier.

The primitive years of human civilization also give us a clue about the evolution of chairs. The idea of a seating arrangement was introduced as early as 200,000 years ago. Hunters, for example, did not sit a lot. However, when they did, they used to sit on rocks, logs, and tree stumps.

The Idea of “Modern-Day Chairs”

In 3100 B.C., during Egyptian civilization’s peak, royal thrones were built by the Pharaohs, notable priests, and other important people. 

In those eras, chairs became a symbol of power and status in society, and authority. During 700 B.C., in the glorious era of the highly-renowned Roman Empire, plush “Divan” lounges were considered to be luxurious items. These lounges are said to be afforded only by the richest and powerful.

On the other hand, the Greeks introduced the bench-style seating arrangement. These are also known as ‘chair of the masses’ and are commonly used in their amphitheatres. Then, eventually, the Greeks also introduced the bench-style pews mainly used in places of worship. 

The Office Desks Today: Going Towards Ergonomics

Throughout history, the evolution of chairs has been significant due to innovating trends and technological breakthroughs. These helped a lot to design and develop office chairs which can support workers to make their job more comfortable and efficient.

Let’s admit it. Whave to sit down in an office chair at some point in our life. This can be during a job interview or while working at an actual job.  We are NOT going to get rid of the chair. 

However, experts today have advised that we also need to stand up to promote better health while working. Since it has been found that sitting for long hours in the workplace can pose health risks, standing desks have been designed and introduced to solve the issue. 

How it Started

Thomas Jefferson designed and invented the first-ever revolutionary swivel chair in 1776. As we all know, swivel chairs are still one of the commonly used chairs in offices. In the 1840s, Charles Darwin created the modern-day office chairs by accidentally adding wheels to the immovable furniture. 

This became a portable chair, which is known as a “wooden armchair on wheels.” Then, Wilfred Dauphin, who had been researching office ergonomics, developed chairs that were made for office use in the ‘70s and ‘80s. 

Based on some other studies, a man named Otto von Bismark also played a vital role in the evolution of chairs. He introduced and distributed these office chairs in the entire parliament while he was in office. Amazingly, these chairs have become famous and become well-known to many.

One of the most famous first modern office chairs was the Centripetal Spring Armchair. The American inventor Thomas E. Warren invented it in 1849. The chair was made from velvet upholstery, steel, and cast iron.

As the years went by, the demand for workplace chairs increased. In the 19th century, a lot of businesses started to expand due to the existence of rail transportation. The demand for chairs grew because the industry required more administrative work.

New office technology and equipment are also added. Definitely, the aim of having chairs then was to provide employees with a more productive and efficient work environment. In that way, business owners can also save energy and expenses.

Office Chairs in the Ergonomics Era

According to various studies and sources, the invention of ergonomics became prominent in the year around 1970. The Ergon chair, which is made to support physical health and improve an office worker’s comfort level, was designed and introduced in 1976. 

What makes this chair greater than the previous ones is that the user can make adjustments to its size. This is to ensure that workers can achieve comfortable spine support. 

The Ergo chair helped increase blood flow to the legs, and due to its adjustable features, it created a more individualized comfort experience for its users. When it comes to other ergonomically-designed chairs, the rest is history. 

The Promising Future of the Office Chairs and Innovations

Nowadays, more and more people are spending time in the workplace, which demands long periods of sitting. Office chairs continuously evolve to meet today’s workers’ lifestyles and needs. 

Therefore, the future can be seen as both uncertain and promising. One big factor that will support this claim is that more and more people are getting informed on the risks of living a sedentary lifestyle due to sitting.

Ergonomic chairs will eventually replace traditional office chairs. For instance, a sit-stand desk is becoming one of today’s hottest trends when it comes to dealing with the workplace’s equipment. A sit-stand desk can support a worker’s health because it can help avoid issues such as back pain, fatigue, and other related physical health issues.


Ergonomic office chairs are also said to help improve bad posture. With the help of exercise and an active lifestyle, workers can have more productive and effective work experience.

Today’s experts and innovators will consider health and wellness to incorporate in their new designs of office chairs. That’s why every worker must not merely view a chair as a tool in the workplace. Instead, it should be a partner that will help the workplace achieve the successful results of its every goal. We recommend at least looking more into these chairs; they are worth investing in to keep you healthier in the long run.