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Some remarks on the history of the beach chair

Geschichte des Strandkorbs
From time to time innovations are accompanied by strange and funny circumstances. The history of the beach chair started with a, let´s call it - indisposition of an older lady, born in Rostock. Her rheumatism was a trigger for a momentous invention of a local basketmaker from Warnemünde. In the there located imperial seaside resort our lady intended to spend her vacations - whether despite or because of her back pain, belongs in the realm of speculation.

You can take it for sure, with the rough winds blowing over the seaside she didn´t have the best conditions around for her recovery. But being a stubborn lady she nevertheless succeeded with her undertaking. A local basketmaker, Wilhelm Bartelmann, provided help. He started building a special furniture, solid enough to protect its users against stormy winds. This invention was called a "beach stool".

This beach chair, invented in this way in 1882, didn´t fit to what we have in mind thinking of a comfortable as well as good looking seating. The 1-seater rather resembled a large box than a beach chair and had a strong vertical alignment. But the first 2-seater, constructed a short time afterwards, in 1883, already went more into the direction of our current aesthetic expectations regarding a beach chair. Users could stretch out their whole bodies with this new model.

In the same year the first beach chairs could be rented. A hiring service was founded in Warnemünde near the lighthouse, managed by the basketmaker´s wife, Elisabeth Bartelmann. The business of the truly engaged Bartelmann couple expanded in the period following.

So with the beginning of the 20th century the beach chair had been well established as an usual furniture along the beaches. In the twenties beach chairs took off for a remarkable national and international career. Nowadays you will find them all across Germany (even in the German "Texas", that means the region of Bavaria), Europe and even in Japan.

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