The History of Cafe Chairs and Their Evolution
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The History of Cafe Chairs and Their Evolution

Cafes have been an essential part of modern society for over two centuries. They have been the center of socializing, business meetings, and cultural gatherings. However, one of the most iconic elements of a cafe is its chairs. The history of cafe chairs is as rich and diverse as the cultures they represent. From classic European styles to modern cafe chairs have evolved over time, reflecting the changing times and tastes of society.

The Beginning of Cafe Culture

The first cafes were established in the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century. These cafes were called “kavehkanes” and were typically located in bazaars and public places. They were a place where people could gather, socialize, and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. The first cafe chairs were simple wooden stools or benches, which were not very comfortable, but they served their purpose.

The Birth of European Cafe Chairs

Cafe culture spread to Europe in the 17th century, and with it came a new style of cafe chair. These chairs were made of bentwood and were designed to be more comfortable than their Ottoman counterparts. The most famous of these chairs is the Thonet Chair, designed by Michael Thonet in 1859. The Thonet Chair was revolutionary in its design, as it was made of just six pieces of wood, which could be easily assembled, making it an affordable and versatile option for cafes and homes alike.

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The Industrial Revolution and Mass Production

The Industrial Revolution brought significant changes to the manufacturing of cafe chairs. Mass production techniques allowed for cafe chairs to be produced on a large scale, making them more affordable and accessible to the general public. The use of new materials, such as metal and plastic, also revolutionized the design of cafe chairs, making them more durable and versatile.

Modern Cafe Chairs

Today, cafe chairs come in a wide range of styles, materials, and colors. Some of the most popular styles include the classic bistro chair, made of metal and woven cane, and the modern plastic chair, which is lightweight and easy to clean. Modern designers are constantly experimenting with new materials and designs, pushing the boundaries of what a cafe chair can be.


The history of cafe chairs is a testament to the evolution of design and society. From simple wooden stools to modern plastic chairs, cafe chairs have reflected the changing tastes and needs of society. As we continue to embrace cafe culture, it is exciting to see what the future holds for the humble cafe chair.


Q1: What is the oldest cafe in the world?

Answer: The oldest cafe in the world is Cafe Florian in Venice, Italy, which was established in 1720.

Q2: What is the most famous cafe chair?

Answer: The most famous cafe chair is the Thonet Chair, designed by Michael Thonet in 1859.

Q3: What is the most popular material for cafe chairs?

Answer: Metal and plastic are the most popular materials for cafe chairs, as they are durable and versatile.

Q4: Who invented the bistro chair?

Answer: The bistro chair was invented in France in the late 19th century.

Q5: What is the future of cafe chairs?

Answer: The future of cafe chairs is exciting, as designers continue to experiment with new materials and designs, pushing the boundaries of what a cafe chair can be.