5 Amazing Facts About Ladder Back Chairs You Can Use To Impress Your Friends

Wooden Chair Ladder Back
Ladder Back

We’ve all seen them and chances are that we’ve all sat on them, but like them or not, ladder back chairs are having somewhat of a renaissance of late. They maybe under-rated as a stylish piece of furniture design, but the cold hard fact is that cafe’s, restaurants, and bistros across the world simply can’t get enough of them. For this reason we thought we’d ‘big up’ this humble wooden chair and give you 5 (nearly) amazing facts about Ladder back chairs you can use to impress your friends.

Fact 1 – Ladder-back chairs are as old as civilisation itself!

Well, not quite, but you can see where I’m coming from. Ladder-back chairs are believed to be the oldest wooden chair still in production today. Some reports say that Ladder-backs were first being sat on by 12th century royalty. Everyone else had to make do with sitting on the floor presumably! By the 16th century the English diarist Samuel Pepys and Queen Elizabeth the first each had their favourite comfortable ladder-backs. In the 18th century as the UK began to expand it’s empire, ladder-backs began to be exported globally to India, America, and beyond.

Fact 2 – It’s got a twin!

Yes it’s true the ladder-back has an alias. Also known as the Slat-back chair and when you see one you can easily see why. The back is made up of 4-6 pieces of wood (slats) contained within a frame. Hence the alternate name. That said, die hard fans of the chair will always refer to it as a ladder-back

Fact 3 – It costs a small fortune to buy one

Again not quite, in fact you can pick up a modern ladder-back chair for well under $100. However old versions in top condition are some of the most expensive chairs to ever sell at auction. For instance, a fairly utilitarian example made by the designer Charles Remie Mackintosh in around 1920, sold for £24,000 at auction in the UK. If you think that’s an eye-watering amount of money for a basic wooden chair then how about this…A much older ladder-back chair believed to be made in Pennsylvania in 1790 recently sold for just shy of $50,000 USD.

Fact 4 – Millions of them were produced

In their heyday around the turn of the 20th century millions of them were produced. Advancements in technology meant that they were quick and easy to make and used fewer component parts. That said earlier versions were made using thicker struts making them more durable, this is why some of the finest examples of older chairs have stood the test of time.

Fact 5 – Nothings’ changed

Funnily enough over the last 100 years or so we’ve seen the most amazing technology, manned flight, space rockets, the internet, yet the ladder-back chairs still in production today are produced in exactly the same way as they were many years before. That’s a testament to the original design and build quality of those early chair-making pioneers.

If you’re loving the ladder-back revolution and are looking to acquire some for your cafe, restaurant or bistro en look no further than Cafe Furniture Melbourne. We sell a wide variety of commercial grade cafe furniture including Ladder-back chairs all at great value-for-money prices. Give us a call on 03 9357 9688 today to find out more.


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