Recliners were and are staples of 20th- and 21st-Century America. But how did it all begin? Two cousins, by the names of Edward Knabusch and Edwin Shoemaker, came up with the brilliant design for the recliner chair in 1928. The first recliner chairs were made out of wood folding chairs and crates - they were comfortable, and conformed to the body, and reclined easily.
The recliner chair was intended for the outdoors - probably the front porch - but after no company would patent it, the cousins made a new design that could be brought indoors, which included upholstery. They called it the Automatic Adjustable Chair, and it was patented in 1931.
The cousins realized they would need a better name for their creation, and so they held a naming contest at the local furniture company they owned. The winning name? La-Z-Boy.
The recliner immediately became popular.
The Times, They Are a Changin'
- In 1947, Barcalounger added the built-in foot rest to the brown recliner.
- During the 50s, recliners graced family rooms, where television was often watched.
- In 1961, the makers of La-Z-Boy recliners designed a rocker recliner chair version of the original design.
- During the 70s, many red recliners were tucked into basements. The reason? Their size and bulk.
- During the late 80s and early 90s, leather recliners made a comeback. Instead of the bulk once associated with them, companies began producing sleeker, more fashionable contemporary leather recliners.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Recliners now come in all shapes, sizes, colors, textures and fabrics. Black leather recliners are a very popular choice. Recliners swivel, come with accessories, can self heat, and can even give you a massage! Almost every American home has a recliner, proving that they have become a true furniture staple. Year after year, the recliner continues to prove itself the most comfortable recliner chair around.