The ladder-back chair is undergoing somewhat of a renaissance of late and if you go into any rustic style café, restaurant or bistro in any town in Australia, you’re sure to find them. They’re strong and durable and are perfect for withstanding the rigours of a bustling establishment with a constant turnover of customers. Although not as swanky looking as some other designs, we believe they are understated and elegant in their own way, so here at Cafe Solutions we thought that we’d sing the praises of the humble ladder-back chair and give you 5 fun facts that you might not know.
Oldest production chair in existence
The common or garden ladder-back chair is arguably the oldest production chair still being made today and was first made in England way back in the Middle Ages. There are records of similar chairs being made as early as the 12th century although it wasn’t until the 15th century that they really started to become popular and by the 17th century, they had become widespread as Britain expanded it’s colonial empire to the Americas and beyond.
Also known as a slat-back chair
The ladder-back chair is so called because of the strut-like pieces of wood which make up the back support. There are usually between 2-6 pieces and sometimes the chair is also referred to as a slat-back chair.
Old examples of ladder-back chairs are some of the most expensive functional chairs sold at auction
When it comes to functional chairs, there was none more so than the ladder-back. It was made to be utilitarian and as a result was fashioned from whatever hard woods the maker could get their hands on at the time. However that doesn’t mean that old examples in good condition don’t fetch a lot of money. In fact an American example thought to be made in Pennsylvania around 1790 sold at auction recently for a whopping $34,000 and similarly in the UK a simple ladderback chair designed by Charles Remie Macintosh in 1903 sold at Christie’s of London for £23,000.
Still made today in the traditional same way
The production hasn’t changed much over the years and many manufacturers still make the chairs in exactly the same way as they did back in the early days using mortise and tenon jointing, dowels and glue although original rush-mat seating has been replaced with other types of cushioning for added comfort.
Incredibly cost effective to make
Because they are simply constructed they use far less wood than other styles of chair and as a result are a cost effective solution to furniture replacement. However because of the way they are put together they are incredibly durable and many have stood the tests of time.
Ladder-back chairs are ideal for those looking to create a rustic style in their establishment and here at Cafe Solutions we have a wide range to choose from. So if you’re looking for a practical solution to your furniture replacement needs, then contact us today or visit our website to see what we have to offer.