The sofa was once the preserve of the wealthy. This article by By Jonathan* for Inpui.com looks at how the sofa has developed over the ages.
We owe our comfy friend to the Egyptians, who first starting using sofa areas as large seating areas for groups of people around 2,000 years ago! However, sofas didn’t become recognisable until the 16th and 17th century.
The first types of sofas were called Chaise Lounge and can still be found today in their modern day contemporary forms. Chaise Lounges are lengthy l-shaped sofas with a support at the rear and were designed for sitting back and relaxing while someone waits on your every need and desire! Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.
The back of these early sofas were normally stuffed with straw, horse hair and for the more upmarket and wealthy, feathers. The base was somewhat tougher and often covered in velvet or woven fabrics. You can still see these types of sofas if you visit Chatsworth House or other National Trust properties, and there has also been a revival recently.
Eventually these animal based products were replaced with more allergy-friendly upholstered varieties. These new designs and structures were made usable via the inclusion of springs, which were significantly more comfortable for the user.
By the time the early 1900s came around the sofa we now know and love was taking a recognisable shape. The wooden frame and pocket spring (invented by Morris) came into play and then a little while later, rubber foam was created by Dunlop. This foam was used as a filling for upholstered sofas and was the ideal sofa ingredient as it could be produced in any shape needed and was durable so would ensure the sofa would last a long time.
During the eighties bigger sofas were starting to appear and prices were dropping. In short, the mass production era meant that more and more people could afford a comfy sofa for their home. Sofas were no longer reserved for the posh and upper class to recline and be waited upon!
The emancipation of the sofa also signified the dawn of many more sofa varieties and new product ranges including corner sofas, sofas beds and even bigger four seater beasty sofas. A new mode has been the modular sofa which you can make up to suit your needs and the space available in your living room.
Nowadays the sofa is usually the social centerpiece of any living room and you can find sofas for suit all tastes and a staggeringly large range of colours fabrics, shapes and sizes!
About the author: Jonathan is a freelance journalist who has two very comfy sofas.