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Lawn Chairs – Popular Traditions

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Lawn Chairs – Popular Traditions

Lawn chairs have probably been around since someone had the muscle to lug a chair out from the house into the yard. In fact, portable furniture has been around at least as long as the Egyptian pyramids. However, not all popular lawn furniture folds. Two non-stackable, non-folding, traditional styles of lawn chairs have remained American favorites through decades of history.

American Design Began with Theodore Roosevelt

In America, lawn chair style began in part because of Theodore Roosevelt’s love of the great outdoors. Upon vacationing at a lodge in the Adirondack Mountains, Teddy became so enchanted with the style of furniture there that he ordered the Parks Department carry it over into the National Park system.

The Adirondack chair was designed by Thomas Lee, circa 1903 and featured deep seats, curved backs and broad armrests. Originally called the Westport Chair, this was the style of lawn furniture that so enchanted President Roosevelt and continues to be popular today.

The traditional Adirondack is made of white cedar, which contains a natural mild insect repellant because of its characteristic smell. Unpainted white cedar chairs eventually weather and turn grayish in color. However, there are many sealants and coatings available to folks who wish to preserve the color of the wood. White cedar chairs can also be painted or stained and some manufacturers produce Adirondack styles in wood like red cedar, which ages more gracefully.

Todays Adirondack's

Today’s prices on Adirondack furniture depend on the kind of wood, the type of chair, and the manufacturer. Adirondack styles span a range from under $100.00 to well over three hundred.

After WWII, Rosy the Riveter wasn’t ready to put away her welding gun. Steel was readily available again and everyone wanted to own some. Manufacturers turned to making brightly painted metal lawn chairs of tubular steel. Light enough to transport to the family picnic table without digging up the turf, these chairs soon became a familiar site on well-groomed lawns across the country.

Metal chairs have regained popularity in the last few years as fans of retro design seek to bring the style out to their lawns. Vintage chairs purchased from Antique stores may be priced upwards of $175.000. However, they are still available at bargain prices at yard and estate sales. Affordably priced reproductions are also available at many garden and home improvement centers.
 

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