Illustration of a lady resting on an Adirondack Chair

What Is an Adirondack Chair?

Adirondack Chair for Types of Adirondack Chairs

​​​​An Adirondack chair is a simple outdoor lounging chair with an angled seat, a straight, angled back and wide armrests. The front legs are straight, and the back legs slant at an angle, supporting the angled seat.

Primary Usage of Adirondack Chairs

Adirondack chairs are generally used as outdoor furniture. They’re perfect as garden or beach chairs or for use on decks, gazebos, sunrooms, Florida rooms, and the like.

They’re a good deal more comfortable than they appear and are suitable for lounging for a few hours at a time, although even models with ottomans are not suitable for napping or sitting for several hours at a time.

Types of Adirondack Chairs

There aren’t multiple types of Adirondack chairs, and in fact, the model has only been updated one time since its invention in 1903. The only variation you sometimes find is the fact that some versions come with ottomans, while the original version of the chair did not.

Adirondack Chair Red Color for Types of Adirondack Chairs

The original chairs were built from hemlock, which was sourced near designer Thomas Lee’s lake house as a matter of convenience. These days, however, you can find Adirondack chairs made from a wide range of wood, including but not limited to oak, Brazilian walnut, western red cedar, and pine.

In addition to that, you’ll find Adirondack chairs made from:

  • Polymers
  • Plastics
  • Composite Materials

Or a mix of all of those.

Two brown heavy-duty plastic Adirondack Chairs on the grass facing a rushing river.
Heavy-duty polymer Adirondack chairs at The Springs Resort & Spa
Arenal, Costa Rica

You’ll also find a few models that were designed to rock slightly, though these aren’t as popular as the classic design, and a few that can be folded to make them easier to carry and transport. We do not feel, however, that these differences are sufficient to call them completely different types of Adirondack chairs.

Origin and Brief History

Adirondack Chair History for Types of Adirondack Chairs

Thomas Lee developed the first Adirondack chair in 1903 for his vacation home in the Adirondack Mountains. He used members of his family as his test subjects to perfect his design, which was built with eleven wooden planks.

It was formerly referred to as a Westport Plank Chair, and Mr. Lee offered the design to a friend, Harry Bunnell, who was a professional carpenter. Bunnell patented the design in 1905 without Lee’s permission and began mass producing them, painting them dark green and individually signing each.

The design was modified in 1938 by Irving Wolpin, featuring a rounded back and a contoured seat, and remains unchanged to this day.

Some Current Brands of Adirondack Chairs

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