The First Reclining Chair

May 22nd Celebrates The First Reclining Chair

Today on Days to remember we celebrate how on May 22nd 1841, Henry Kennedy received a patent for the first reclining chair.

A recliner is when the occupant lowers the chair’s back and raises its front. It has a backrest that can be tilted back, and often a footrest that may be extended by means of a lever on the side of the chair, or may extend automatically when the back is reclined.

The word recline was first used in the 1660s. Beginning in 1880 the word recliner was used to describe a type of chair.

Around 1850, the French introduced a reclining camp bed that could serve as a chair, a bed and a chaise longue. It was portable and featured padded arm rests and a steel frame.

Knabush and Shoemaker, two American cousins, are credited with gaining a patent on a wooden recliner.
The design was the same wooden bench recliner found in other designs. Issued in 1928, the patent led to the founding of La-Z-Boy.

In 1930, Knabush and Shoemaker patented an upholstered model with a mechanical movement.

Daniel F. Caldemeyer is known as the father of the modern day recliner.

His invention, as owner of National Furniture Mfg. Co based in Evansville, Indiana, initiated the widespread home usage of the chair that he called the rocket recliner.

His name was based on the fact that he developed his chair based on the science of kinetics that he used while serving in the US Air Force.

His design was used by NASA for the seats in Projects Mercury, Gemini and Apollo, but who was Henry Kennedy?

Henry Kennedy was a native resident of Philadelphia, in the county of Philadelphia, who was a cabinet-maker and upholsterer, and who had invented a new and improved action of the seat and back of a recumbent or library chair by means of the introduction of a spiral wire spring into the seat.

The nature of my invention consists in introducing a small wire spring horizontally between the back rail of the seat and the front rail of the chain, with a small pole which is inserted between the back and the front rails of the chair riming through a hole bored in the back rail of the seat, which on May 22nd 1841, Henry Kennedy received a patent for the first reclining chair.

Written & Designed by JD Mitchell


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