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What Are Adirondack Chairs?

The Adirondack chair originated in upstate New York in the early 1900s. Today, it's one of the most popular outdoor furniture designs in America.
  1. History

    • According to Woodworker's Journal, in the summer of 1902, Thomas Lee gave his outdoor seating design to Henry Bunnell, a carpenter from Westport, New York. Bunnell began building chairs to sell to vacationers and patented the "Westport Chair" in 1904.


    • Woodworker's Journal notes that the Westport chair has "a single, wide board as the back." However, according to the Adirondack Museum, Adirondack chairs have "a slatted seat and back" and wide armrests. Both chairs are built low to the ground.

      The Adirondack chair angles backward between 100 and 130 degrees. Seat height ranges from 12 to 14 inches. Building materials include oak, cedar, pine, teak and recycled plastic.


    • Recycled plastic versions may start at $100. Wooden chairs may cost $200 to $2,000, depending on materials used and add-on features (cushions, footrests, side tables).


    • Contemporary designs inspired by the original Adirondack chair include picnic tables and patio sets, swings, lounge chairs, folding chairs and camp chairs.

    Fun Fact

    • Yankee Magazine states that that the reclining angle of Adirondack chairs "may have evolved from the chairs crafted for patients taking the fresh-air tuberculosis cure" in the early 1900s.