What do you call an office chair? And related queries.

  • By: Sam Shaw
  • Date: August 20, 2021
  • Time to read: 3 min.

What do you call an office chair?

If you’re in the USA, UK, and Australia, amongst others, you call them desk chairs. But if you’re from Germany or continental Europe then your furniture has no backside and is simply a chair: Der Bürostuhl!

Is office chair an equipment?

If you’re in the USA, the UK, and most of Europe it is. But for Germans and Swiss, there is a clear distinction between equipment and furniture. Equipment means office chair – Bürostuhl! Furniture, on the other hand, means desk chairs without armrests: Die Schreibtischstühle!

What is the difference between a task chair and an office chair?

In the USA an office chair is any chair used at work.

If you’re in the UK, Australia, or New Zealand then it’s a padded seat with rollers and adjustable height – as well as arms that can be adjusted vertically and horizontally: The base must be metal so it doesn’t tip over!

In Germany and Switzerland through an office chair has no backside (no “Sitzfläche”) – not even one with padding: Die Sitzschale muss durch einen Metallrahmen fixiert sein! You sit on the bare metal framework – Der Bürostuhl!

As you’ll have guessed already, these terms originated from English, German, French and other languages. But each country and language has adapted them in their own way to make sense of the local furniture market.

This is why you’ll frequently hear English office chairs translated as Bürostühle in German and as Schreibtischstuhl when talking Swiss-German. Or why French bureaux de travail are called Danish skriveborde here, or “bureau d’écriture” there (I’ve never seen a desk chair with writing on it).

Exactly where these terms originated is rather fuzzy because they’re constantly evolving: In some places, someone may call an office chair by whatever name they like, while others reject all foreign terminology and stick to their own version – like how Brits say carpet for those long strips of floor covering.

In any case, office chairs are nothing more than a curious mix of etymology and local culture.

I have to admit it’s difficult for me to imagine what it would be like if the English language hadn’t already laid down the rules about this kind of furniture: A German “Stuhl” doesn’t mean much without arms! What will they think of next?!

How far does an office chair travel in a year?

The average office chair travels about 8-9 miles a year. This distance consists of thousands of short movements we make in our office every day while sitting on a chair.

For example, you roll the wheels of your office chair to get to the printer, or pick up a pen from a side table or look at the monitor of your colleague. Depending on the size of your office room, you may be moving your office chair to as much as 10 or even 12 miles a year. Surprising, right?

What was the first office chair?

What do you call an office chair? It could mean different things in different cultures.
Office chairs have evolved over time.

In the 16th century, a chair called “baptisterium” was used in a Dutch church. It was later named after its designer, Godfried Schalcken. This office chair featured arms with cushions and rollers: The first modern office chair!

The term “Schreibtischstuhl” (“desk chair”) is first mentioned in 1828 by German authors Carl August Meissner and Friedrich Overbeck. They write about an “open back design without armrests as well as with foldable armrests”.

In 1830, French author Henri de Latouche mentions that his writing equipment consists of a table or desk and a bureau de travail (non-specific furniture).

A year later, in 1831, the term bureau de travail appears for the first time in a Swiss dictionary by Ludwig Forrer. These are supposedly among the first to use these terms. However, only Bürostuhl can be traced back as far as 1570 – and that’s when it was used for a bathtub!

Why does my office chair lean to one side? ere is a list of reasons.

Previous Post

Why does my office chair lean to one side?

Next Post

Can I use a recliner as an office chair? And related queries

Can I use a recliner as an office chair? No, you should not.