Loose cushions were used to offer the sitter a measure of
comfort on 16th century oak chairs, but it was not until the
beginning of the 17th century that fully upholstered antique
chairs developed. Sets of upholstered seating furniture have
been made for houses since then, and although there are very
few early sets in existence, many fine examples have survived
from the 17th century onward.
upholstered chairs with wings and an adjustable backs were
made in the second half of the 17th century. Known as sleeping
chairs, they were the precursors of the fixed-back, fully
upholstered wing chairs which had emerged by the end of the
century. Wing, or easy, chairs remained fashionable throughout
the 18th century.
18th-century France, one of the most popular chairs was the
bergere in which, in addition to the back and seat, the sides
were also upholstered. Most bergeres do not have wings.
the coiled spring was introduced, making chairs much more
comfortable. Rapid population growth in the first half of the
19th century, in both the United States and Europe, meant that
by 1850 there was a huge demand for upholstered furniture by
all classes of society and not, as before, simply by the rich.
This trend has continued into the 20th century.