Donatella Bianchi. Bar Stools. December 07th, 2017.
We will explore here three types of western bar or counter stools which will suit several different tastes and occasions. We`ll talk about modern bar stool, round saddle stool, and cowhide seat western saddle bar / counter stool.
Bar Stools - An old tradition: Bar stools are arguably as old as bars themselves. When someone thought of putting up a relatively tall, long table that would serve as a centerpiece for a public house, it would not have taken long to think up appropriate seating. The bar is often at elbow height of a standing man of average height, for the purposes of making things easier for the bartender who serves while standing, and also to draw attention in a room. Its height meant that conventional chairs would leave patrons at chest or chin-height in relation to the bar, which is no way to enjoy some food or drink. When bar counters served as focal points for food and drink as they did in the old days, one really needed one`s hands at the right height. The obvious solution was to go to the bar counter, order food or drink, then finish it off while standing up and leave afterwards. This was fine for the utilitarian purpose of public houses, but soon people started wanting to hang out for longer. In any case, taverns and pubs profited from having customers hang around for more than just a drink or two. Bar stools were invented to provide comfort and in turn generate revenue for the owners. The height meant that the countertop was in easy reach, and the narrowness meant one could seat a large number of people at the long counter. Since then, going to the pub to meet the locals and congregating at the bar for some drinking have become traditional pastimes. It would probably be unthinkable to imagine a world without the age-old practice of chilling out with the guys or gals for a drink after work while resting one`s feet.
Wood Bar Stools: Wood bar stools are typically offered in a few stains or painted colors. Look for chip-resistant finishes and/or stains which are sealed to protect the wood as well as the underlying finish. Look for metal protectors on the foot-rest as any painted or finished wood subject to the wear and tear of people`s feet will wear through over time. Many manufacturers intentionally distress their finishes to provide a used or worn look. Some more expensive wood bar stools feature rich, multi-step finishes that can be custom matched to you particular needs.
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.
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