The History of Plastic Furniture


Affordable and functional, plastic furniture can be found everywhere, from formal receptions to isolated campsites. How and why was this modern necessity created?


  • The post-World War II plastics boom prompted furniture designers to create unique pieces with the new material. The first plastic chairs featured a shell-shaped seat and metal legs. In 1955, Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen designed his famous tulip chair. The tulip chair had a plastic seat and single metal pedestal; the pedestal leg was coated in plastic to unify the chair.


  • Improvements in plastics technology in the 1960s allowed furniture designers and manufacturers more options to create functional pieces. The injection molding process was used to create a chair that was a single piece of plastic. In 1968, Danish designer Verner Panton created the first single form injection-molded chair, an S-shaped stackable cantilever chair.

Mass Production

  • In the 1980s, the first mass-produced monobloc (single piece) chairs were created. As large manufacturers took over, designer elements of the chair were replaced by the need for a practical style, resulting in the type of plastic furniture now recognized on patios across the country.

Plastic Furniture Today

  • Most of today's plastic furniture uses the same injection-molding process and design qualities as its predecessors. Although the equipment used to manufacture the furniture is very expensive, the mass quantities produced result in its low prices.

Fun Fact

  • Saarinen's tulip chair is best known as the model for the captain's chairs on the original Star Trek television series.

Related Searches


  • Photo Credit Image by, courtesy of Tilo Erwin
Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

  • History of Plastic Cups

    The world would be a different place if not for plastic cups. These cups are found at stadiums and professional sporting games,...

  • The History of Chair Design

    The chair, a common piece of furniture that is often taken for granted in today's society, has roots all the way back...

  • How to Clean a Beanbag Chair

    Beanbag chairs have been a favorite place for kids and adults to lounge for many years. Keep beanbags looking clean and new...

  • How to Make Plastic Furniture

    Plastic furniture can have the same clean look as glass furniture but with greater durability. Plastic is highly impact resistant. Wood furniture...

  • The Components of Plastic Furniture

    Plastics are polymers, which means “many parts.” Plastic furniture was first invented in 1946 and designed by James Donahue and Douglas Simpson....

Related Searches

Check It Out

22 DIY Ways to Update Your Home on a Small Budget

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!