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The word ‘chair’ comes from the Latin ‘cathedra’, the seat of a bishop. The first office chair was made in 1849 and was called the Centripetal Spring Armchair. It was designed by Thomas E Warren and made by the American Chair Company of Troy, New York. This mother of all chairs had all the significant features that are present in modern-day office chairs such as head support, rotating seat, filigree metalwork and brocade upholstery!
History considers it the earliest example of a task chair. This initial design was made for use on railway carriages because the springing seat could absorb shock from the train’s bumpy movements.
Around the year 1840, Charles Darwin gave humanity another great idea by putting wheels on the feet of his chair. So, he invented a “wooden armchair on wheels”.
Entry into the workspace:
In the mid-19th century, rail transportation transformed the economy beyond imagination. There was a massive change in office environments, technology, and office equipment. Interestingly, Otto Bismark is credited to have office chairs more popular during his stint in parliament.
Historically speaking, chairs were used by people of higher society – mostly in the form of Thrones. Even today, people continue to associate chairs with power, position, and privilege. In modern corporate environments, the corner office and the big, comfy swivel chair are still held as symbols of great achievement.
But, first things first, chairs have to do more than be symbolic. They have to be comfortable. Research confirms that slouching and similar postures are the chief reasons for backaches, headaches, fatigue and poor concentration.
A healthy posture–which means that your spine is properly aligned–promotes greater overall comfort, including improved concentration and endurance through long hours of seated task work. So, think before you sit in that chair.
A word of caution here. Sitting on a chair for a long stretch of time is harmful to one’s health. This lowers the rate of blood circulation in the body. As a result, muscles become sore and painful at the end of the day. So, no matter how comfortable or powerful your chair is, make it a point to get out of it for at least 10 minutes every hour and move.
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