Thomas Jefferson Invented The Swivel Chair

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thomas jefferson invented the swivel chair

Are you aware that Thomas Jefferson invented the swivel chair? That’s right. Third US president, and lead author of the US Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, invented the swivel chair. But what was his motivation for doing so?

It probably won’t come as a surprise for many of you to learn that some of the past leaders of the United States were quite innovative. Obviously, to attain such a prestigious position in government, and the respect of the vast majority of people, the presidents are generally quite smart people. Some of them were book smart, a few street smart, and then some were innovative smart. They had the knack to develop, alter or improve items of every day use. This is what Thomas Jefferson did when he invented the swivel chair.

It must be pointed out that when Thomas Jefferson invented the swivel chair he was not in office at the time. I would suspect that he would have been far too busy to undertake many outside interests. It’s believed that he made his ingenious invention sometime before the drafting of the Declaration of Independence. So I guess you want to know how he made it?

It wasn’t an all out pure invention from the ground up, but what he did was ground breaking, especially for the time. He purchased a English-style Windsor chair from a cabinet maker in Philadelphia. The Windsor chairs are the typical timber chairs where the back slats and the legs are placed into holes in the seat. Clearly the seat is as comfortable as a wooden seat can be, but maneuverability is rather restrictive. So Jefferson took it upon himself to make the seat more workable, and office friendly.

What he did was modify the seat. He placed a spindle between the top and bottom parts of the seat. This created the world’s first swivel chair.

Legend states that this chair was the one that he sat in while drafting the Declaration of Independence. Whether or not he actually did remains unknown for certain. But he was proud of it, that’s for sure. He was so fond of his invention that he sent it to his plantation in Virginia before it ended up being given to the American Philosophical Society. As all office workers today will undoubtedly admit, this was a brilliant invention, and one that is used every day.

But this shouldn’t come as a surprise. This guy spoke 5 languages other than English. They were Greek, Latin, French, Italian and Spanish.



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