A History of Seating in the Western World
“A History of Seating in the Western World,” is a research paper based on the Postgraduate Diploma in Ergonomics Research project performed by Kim Gurr under the supervision of Leon Straker, Physiotherapy, and Phillip Moore, Social Sciences, at the Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Western Australia.
Unfortunately, Kim died before finalizing her research.
History of Seating is Important for Ergonomics
Seating is an important issue for contemporary ergonomics. Its frequent use by humans and its association with musculoskeletal disorders are just some of the reasons for its importance.
To understand the place of seating in modern Western societies, it is useful to understand its history.
This paper presents an overview of the ancient history of seating and the modern history of Western seating with particular emphasis on the design influences over the past 5,000 year period.
History of Seating begins with the Egyptians
The history of supporting sitting or seating has a long and colorful history beginning, at least, with the Egyptians some 3,000 B.C.
The historical knowledge summarized here is distilled from a great variety of texts, for it seems our fascination with the chair is as alive today as it was in ancient times.
It should be noted that despite the huge amount of information documented on seat types, only three types of distinctly different seats developed.
- the stool (both fixed and folding);
- the bench, and
- the chair