Lawn and Garden Furniture – The History of the Adirondack Garden Chair

Lawn and garden furniture is often considered to be modern. Let’s face it, there’s not a lot to a chair, right? Not so the Adirondack garden chair.

The Adirondack garden chair has a bit of a murky history and it goes to show that even amongst friends, if a good idea is worth stealing, nothing gets in the way!

Back in 1903, a certain Thomas Lee used to spend his summers in Westport, New York with his large family of 22! The house was short on outdoor furniture and so in his spare time, as a bit of a hobby, Thomas began knocking together pieces of wood to make extra garden furniture that would give his family the extra seating they needed.

After much experimenting, he finally hit upon a design using 11 pieces of wood from one plank which made an extremely comfortable chair with wide armrests where the upright back and seat slant to afford better seating. This accommodated the steep slopes that abound in the region of the Adirondack Mountains in North-East New York State, giving the garden furniture a more luxurious feel.

One of his friends, Harry Bunnell was a carpenter down in Westport, so Thomas showed him his designs. Harry thought that there was tremendous potential for them amongst the summer visitors to the town and in 1904 applied for a patent for the chair, to be known as a Westport Garden Chair.

Unbeknown to Thomas Lee, in 1905 Harry Bunnell secured the patent he needed. For over twenty years he manufactured the now famous slope-backed chairs in either a rusty-brown or green wood-stain, stamping the garden furniture with his signature.

Today, these original chairs can fetch as much as $3000 in antique shops, which goes to show the enduring appeal of these attractive chairs.

As more and more manufacturers copied the design, the chairs became known as Adirondack chairs – the name being taken from the region, rather than the town of manufacture and the design comes in a wide selection of benches, rockers and chairs being built to the original plan.

Today, using Polywood recycled plastic, this design for garden furniture comes into it’s own in the Poly-Wood Adirondack chair. Eco-friendly due to the recycling of plastic milk bottles and the like, they are virtually maintenance-free and retain their good looks for a lifetime of pleasure.

Some people like to add cushions to their garden furniture, but with the Poly-Wood Adirondack, as Thomas Lee originally intended with his design, cushions are not required. A good Adirondack design should be comfortable without the addition of cushions.

The Poly-Wood Adirondack lawn and garden furniture comes in a range of colours including sunset red, pacific blue, lemon, lime, tangerine and Aruba, thus giving your garden a splash of colour and a uniqueness I am sure that Thomas Lee would have been proud of.