Donatella Bianchi. Bar Stools. December 06th, 2017.
Bar Stools - The continuous evolution: In the old days bar stools were strictly utilitarian, just wooden pieces nailed together to form sturdy seats. There was not much call for aesthetic modifications, and life back then was generally plain-looking by today`s standards. If you have seen movies depicting the medieval or Middle Ages, then you will be familiar with the rough-hewn appearance of their furniture. They were often unpadded as well, so sitting for long periods of time was not an attractive prospect. The Renaissance saw a sudden uprising in the call for beauty, and everything became covered with carvings and etchings. These bar stools were no exception, and their long legs in particular were made more aesthetically ornate. Padding as part of the seat and not as a separate cushion was also introduced. Not surprisingly, not everyone could afford these fancy seats, so the simple designs were still common in the seedier bars and public houses. This disparity is important to consider, since it has led to the richness of choice that we have today. In the previous century, every decade saw changes in popular fashion and aesthetics, so public houses changed their appearance regularly. Those periods saw the use of chrome, leatherette, rotating seats, and polyurethane foam. These stools became fixtures around counters, literally speaking. Being bolted to the floor, their fixed nature prevented them from being used in the inevitable bar brawl. Alcohol seems to often lead to violence of some sort, and many a bar has seen destruction at the hands of inebriated patrons. At least, the stools would be spared too much damage.
This is a good question. If you ask 10 retailers, you`ll get 10 responses. In my opinion, wood bar stools are prone to problems not encountered with welded metal bar stools. Due to the soft nature of wood (when compared to steel), screws and joints tend to come loose over time- especially wood with arms. The constant outward stress on the arms can loosen the attachment points resulting in a loose feel. Legs and stretchers (horizontal support bars) can also become loose over time resulting in an unstable and potentially dangerous bar stool. Still, there are decorating situations in which only wood will work.
Backless stools are great when you need occasional extra seating or in situations where you don`t want to obstruct a view with tall backs. Example: You may have an open floor plan and do not want to obstruct your view from one room to another. Also consider any outside views. If your game room or kitchen faces a lake or river, for example, you may not want backs extending above your counter that may obstruct your view.
What all these stools have in common is that they are made of wood. Back in the times of wild west, metal was not as prevalent as it is today, and the cowboys had to make do with the materials that were more readily accessible, in particular wood. So the cowboys had to master the art of woodworking to create these stools. The other materials the cowboys had available were natural leathers, either coming from caught wild animals, but more commonly from the cows that were slaughtered for their meat.
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