The History of Stackable Church Chairs: Evolution of a Practical Seating Solution

History of Stackable Church Chairs

Modern worship places use their spaces to hold summer festivals, playgroups, community meetings, yoga classes, concerts, and sermons. The diverse use of the church space is made possible by the invention of stackable church chairs.

Stackable chairs provide churches with much-needed flexibility and practical seating solutions. Before the invention of stackable chairs, most places of worship used pews. So, how did stackable chairs come to be? Let’s take a deep dive into the history of stackable church seats.

Origins: The Invention of Stackable Chairs in the 19th Century

Today, stackable church chairs are a significant seating solution in almost all worship places in the world. But did you know that the first stacking chair was invented in the 19th Century? In 1963, Robin Day designed the first stacking chair and created it for the S.Hille & Co. firm.

He used polypropylene material to manufacture the chairs using a procedure known as injection molding. Polypropylene is impact-resistance and is very lightweight. Its use in the manufacture of stacking chairs paved the way for the name “polypro.”

In addition, the early stacking chair designs were available in flame red or charcoal black colors. Today, they are incredibly iconic and still in production. In the 2009 British Design Classics stamps series, these seats were chosen as one of the eight best classic designs.

Robin Day, the inventor, named these seats stacking chairs because they stacked neatly on top of each other. Eventually, they became famous for large gatherings because they provided practical seating solutions.

Industrial Era: The Rise of Mass Production for Stackable Chairs

Stackable church chairs are among the first types of chairs still in production 50 years after their invention. Seat manufacturers first introduced them to the market in 1965. That same year, they won the Council of Industrial Design Award.

The introduction price of the stacking chairs was less than £3. The manufacturers aimed to create low-cost production seats, which facilitated their affordability. These seats are the first mass-produced polypropylene chairs in the world ever.

The chairs represent a significant revolution in furniture technology and design. Over the past 50 years, stackable chairs manufacturers have produced tens of millions of these chairs. Stacking chairs are now among the best-selling chairs in the world. 

Post-War Era: The Popularity of Stackable Chairs for Schools and Churches

The early design of Robin Day’s stacking chairs reflected a forward-looking and optimistic attitude of the post-war era. The practical seating designs ensured that the chairs became incredibly popular. The chairs were more popular in churches and schools because they could meet all the seating requirements needed.

Furthermore, the chairs allowed schools and churches to add and remove chairs when necessary. Both churches and schools could easily convert their space for whatever occasion with the stacking chairs. The seats also provide a better storage option as they can be stacked neatly and compactly.

Apart from schools and churches, stackable chairs are a popular seating option for,

  • Hospitals;
  • Offices;
  • Hospitals;
  • Restaurants;
  • Canteens;
  • Arenas;
  • Convention centers;
  • Outdoor living areas;

Modern Era: Innovations in Materials and Designs for Stackable Chairs

Over time stackable chairs diversified in design and color, with different types of upholstery and bases. Some manufacturers use molded plastic with metal frames to make the chairs. They also added vinyl and fabric cushions to some models for added comfort.

Robin Day’s design has undergone several variations. These seating options include the E Series for children, which is ideal for outdoor, church and classroom use. The series E chair has a high backrest, a well-proportioned seat, and is breathable.

Furthermore, in this modern era, stackable seats are available in different colors other than the original flame red or charcoal black. Apart from the polypro material, manufacturers are creating wooden stacking chairs. The wooden chairs have padded or upholstered seats with padded arms to provide comfort to the users. They also include designs such as the following:

  • Stacking stool;
  • Armchair;
  • 2-seater wooden stacking chair;

Future Trends: Predictions for the Future of Stackable Church Chairs

The stackable church chairs continue to be the spearhead of chair engineering. Many stacking chair manufacturers will continue to produce stackable chairs because of the expected high demand in the future.

Since the stacking seats invention in 1963, they have never been out of fashion. In fact, more and more houses of worship, schools, hospitals, homes, and many other places continue to adapt to their use. The popularity is due to the ease of storage and flexibility of the seats.

Individuals can expect more and better designs. Chair innovators are bound to invent new stacking chair designs and materials that take practical seating solutions to the next level.

In conclusion

Stackable church chairs have undergone tremendous transformation since their invention in 1963. Polypropylene material was the first material used to make the chair. But now, stackable chairs manufacturers include wood, metal, and high-quality plastic to make the stacking chairs. You should expect better designs that meet users’ comfort and incredible aesthetics. 

Does your church use stackable chairs? Please chair how beneficial they have been to you.

Gretchen Walker
Gretchen is a homemaker by day and writer by night. She takes a keen interest in life as it unfolds around her and spends her free time observing people go about their everyday affairs.