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In Northampton we don’t spout cobblers about office chairs…

Nov 22, 2018

This won’t be the first time we’ve mentioned this, but we do think it’s worth linking to occasionally. As you’ll probably already know, Northampton is a town with a global reputation for shoemaking; we’re talking serious history on the subject here.

And, as you’ll also probably already know, anything with longevity and a good reputation deserves to be recognised, revered, and learned from, we reckon. So what’s the link in this instance? Well, we believe there is quite a parallel with our industry, particularly regarding office chairs. How so? Because, let’s face it… people spend a lot of time in them, like they do their shoes, so office chairs need to do their job properly.

Touching on the history of office chairs

For centuries, cobblers in Northampton have been crafting quality shoes that look great and yet are comfortable and functional too. Fashions have changed, of course, but regardless people have wanted to be able to wear a pair of shoes to suit the occasion… and not be crippled by them. The history of office chairs has seen a similar learning curve.

It would appear that the first office chairs to be designed specifically for use in an office were created for the American Chair Company. They were sold with the catchy title of, “The Centripetal Spring Armchair”, and were, in effect, a cast iron chair with a velvet outer layer. This infant office chair was actually quite well thought through, though, for it swivelled, had a supportive headrest and castor wheels, and apparently some sort of suspension too. So all in all, it was quite a good starter design… despite at the time being deemed immoral because it was too comfortable.

However, within a century, the technological design of office chairs had leapt forward. By the mid-1950s, padded leather cushions on both the seat and back rest were de rigueur. And then in the 1970s ergonomics began to be mentioned.

Enter ergonomic office chairs

Suddenly, everything became scientific. Just as significant research was carried out in Northampton for shoe design and materials, so too was it carried out for office chairs. Just how a back needs to be supported when someone is sitting gained a lot of attention. And just how office chairs can facilitate efficiency at work gained momentum too.

The good news for everyone was that office managers caught on to the fact that a comfortable, healthy employee was a happy employee; and a happy employee worked harder and was more productive. With ergonomic office chairs purposefully designed with comfort, user health and functionality in mind... the idea caught on.

Northampton and office chairs… not such a daft connection

So, as you can see, this whole linking shoes with office chairs malarkey isn’t just a load of old cobblers. Northampton has inspired us to appreciate just how dedication to an aspect of our world that most of us take for granted reaps rewards. And, in true CamHam fashion, we always like to put our best foot forward. So if you’d like to discover just how happy the right office chairs could make your staff, then please give us a ring! We’d be delighted to tell you more…

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