Ladder-Back Chairs – Impress Your Friends With 5 Fun Facts You Might Not Know

Ladder back chairAs ladder-back chairs seem to be having somewhat of a renaissance of late, we thought that we’d take a slightly tongue-in-cheek look at 5 fun facts about this humble chair you might not know, or indeed probably ever use again.

It’s as old as the hills!

Well, not quite, but it does hold the world record for being the oldest chair still in production today. Reports of similar chairs were being made as early as the 12th century, but the ladderback chair as we know it today dates back to the 15th century. Queen Elizabeth I and the diarist Samuel Pepys were supposedly all great fans of the ladder-back chair. As Britain started to expand it’s empire in the 17th and 18th centuries it was exported globally to the Americas, India and beyond

It’s got an alias!

The ‘Ladder-back chair’ and the ‘Slat back chair’ are in fact one of the same. The strut like pieces of wood which make up the back (usually between 4 and 6) are obviously referred to as ‘slats’ hence the name.

It’s expensive!

Well again, not quite, as you can pick up a new ladder-back chair for less than $100. However old versions in good condition are some of the most expensive functional chairs ever sold at auction. This is because they were made to be used and exceptionally old examples are rare. A ladder-back chair thought to be made in Pennsylvania in the 1790’s fetched a whopping 34,000 USD a few years back. Similarly, a very simple looking (almost utilitarian) example made in 1903 and designed by Charles Remie Macintosh recently sold at Christies of London for £23,000.

It’s cheap to produce

In their heyday, ladder-back chairs were made in their thousands because they were very cheap to produce. Simply constructed they used far less wood than any other type of chair at the time. That said, they were also pretty durable and that’s why some rare examples have withstood the test of time.

It’s still made the same way

Funnily enough even though technology has moved on, the ladder- back Chair is still made with many of the same processes as it was back in the old days.

The humble ladder-back is the ideal chair for anyone looking to create a rustic style in their establishment and here at Cafe Furniture Brisbane we have a wide range to choose from. Why not browse our website at and see what we have to offer. Alternatively if you’re in the Brisbane area, then come and visit our showroom in person.

Leave a Reply