It’s been one of those days – one of those weeks, really. You’ve been under stress at work, and now that it’s finally the weekend, you’re in desperate need of relaxation. So you head for the one place where you know you’ll find it: your favorite Adirondack chair out on the deck. The chair is perfectly placed to afford you a gorgeous view of the sky that is making its transformation from a pure summer blue to the deeper hue of dusk. You settle in against the Adirondack chair’s slanted back and prop your arms on the broad armrests, sprawling out with a soft sigh of relief. You feel the stresses of the past few days begin to dissipate as you study the changing horizon in its glorious shades of red, blue, purple and gold. As night falls, something about the view reminds you of another evening, back when you were a child, and your mind begins to drift to that other time.
In your mind, it’s a lazy, summer day in 1946 in Squam Lake, New Hampshire. Vacationing families glide along the placid lake aboard their boats, and children just like you laugh as they explore the mysterious creatures at the water’s edge bông gòn. Others swim in the crystal-clear water, while still others picnic along the shore. And of course, there are the chairs. Rows of wicker furniture and classic Adirondack chairs dot the landscape. Those comfortable Adirondacks are a favorite of all of the vacationers, and they are constantly filled with napping children and relaxing adults. There is even plenty of room for a parent and child to snuggle up together in comfort and watch the stars come out in the inky night sky.
It’s just the scene that Thomas Lee must have had in mind when he first invented the Westport Adirondack chair back in 1903. Lee was on vacation at his summer cottage in Westport, New York, when he came up with the design for a chair with wide armrests and a slanted back and seat. Such a design was already in use by people in the Adirondack Mountains, located about 10 miles west of Lee’s cottage in Westport. The slanted position of the chairs enabled people to sit upright even when on a steep hill.
Though there were other chairs of a similar construction already in use, Lee’s creation became the standard. Lee’s hunting friend, Harry Bunnell, patented the chair in 1905 and began to sell it to the public. Though Lee’s invention is known as the Westport chair, there can be no doubt that it is the forerunner of the classic Adirondack chair. The two are extremely similar in structure, with the main difference being the Adirondack chair’s smaller slats.
Today, the Adirondack chair is an American classic, a symbol of comfort, and for some, a reminder of an age of innocence when they would curl up in the chairs with their mother or father and listen to stories being told under a blanket of stars.