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Folding chairs of the side-X variety set up for an outdoor event
A folding chair is a light portable chair that can be stored in a stack, row or on a specially designed cart. They are usually used for seating large amounts of people in an arena where permanent seating is not possible or practical. This includes mostly large outdoor or indoor cultural events such as funerals, college graduation, religious sermons and sport and athletic games and competitions.In the private sphere, folding chairs are used for any social situation requiring extra seating such as parties, card games, and temporary seating at the dinner table.They typically weigh between 2 to 5 kilos (five to ten pounds) and are produced in a variety of styles, folding mechanisms, and materials.


Folding chairs were already being used in Ancient Egypt, Greecemarker and Romemarker. The curule chair of the Roman magistrate was a folding chair, as well as the seat of the emperor. The frame was mostly made of wood, and seldomly made of metal. The wood was inlaid with artistic carvings, gilded, and decorated with ivory.In Northern Europe, folding chairs return to the brass age.

The folding chair became especially widespread during the Middle Ages. Here it was treasured as a liturgical furniture piece. Since the 15th and 16th century the folding chair has mostly had arm and head rests. Of course, newer chairs which are often found in functions and events are also called folding chairs. In 1947, Fredric Arnold created the first aluminum folding chair with fabric strapping for the seat and back. By 1957, the Fredric Arnold Company of Brooklyn, New York, was manufacturing more than 14,000 chairs per day. Today, the folding chair is mostly made of hard plastic or metal or wood. Folding chairs can be divided into different categories.

Pivot under seat level

Side-X Stools

Two X's that can be aligned with a piece of cloth between.

Side-X chairs

The supports for the backrest and front foot is the same side-part. The seat is collapsed to align between the sidebars, either downwards between the front legs, or upwards to align between back-sidebars. Mechanisms vary, but the supports for the back and the front feet are invariably the same part.

Front X chairs

Essentially a side-x stool with a backrest.

Bow shape

The supports for the backrest and the hind legs are the same side-part. The seat is collapsed to align between the back-supports. Patented in 2006, but is not yet in production.

Pivot at seat level

Triangle shape

The most common kind of chair, the triangle shape chair was patented by Jeremiah Todd from Oklahoma. The seat automatically aligns between the back supports. The back support and the front legs are the same part.


Prices and quality can be roughly divided into three categories, and is largely the same as for stacking chairs:

Low range

Light and cheap furniture made almost invariably from steel tubes and plastic seat and backrest. Costs approximately 15 dollars a piece (2008). Primary consumer market, but also outdoor venues for eating and drinking.

Mid range

More sturdy and a greater variety in styles and materials. They are typically not upholstered. Costs from approximately 25 dollars a piece (2008). Primary market is seating for large arenas, outdoor or places of worship but also cafes and brasseries.

Upper range

These folding chairs are often multiple reinforced, and come with padded seats and backrest. These are mainly sold for sporting events. The seat is sometimes made to fall backward so that it stands upright, making rainwater run off the upholstered seat.

High end

Folding chairs in this category are extremely few and are sold in a very small volume. They cost from 150 to 300 dollars a piece. They may be upholstered, but often they are priced higher because they are associated with a renowned manufacturer.

See also

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