Many inventions come from a want or need - such as the iconic Adirondack chair, which over the past century has become a well-known staple in outdoor furniture. Most homeowners will easily recognize the familiar design of the Adirondack chair, which is also known for its quality, durability and comfort. Many people do not realize how long Adirondack chairs have been in existence and just how much they have become part of American culture. The following is a look at the history of Adirondack chairs. How the Adirondack Chair Came To Be In 1903, Adirondack chair creator Thomas Lee had a problem and a want. With a large family of 22 who would stay at his summer home on Lake Champlain near Westport, New York he felt there was no comfortable outdoor furniture for them to sit. Because it was a hilly area, conventional chairs were difficult to sit on without feeling like you were sliding off. This prompted Lee to set about solving his problem by attempting to design a comfortable chair that would also sit well on hills. Finally, with the help of his family's feedback, he created the Adirondack chair. The chair's seat slanted slightly to the back to allow someone to sit comfortably on a slope without sliding forward. The Adirondack Chair Gains Popularity Lee's carpenter friend, Harry C. Bunnell, had a modest carpentry shop in Westport and was in need of winter income. He went to work building chairs based on Lee's design and then staining them green or medium dark brown. They were a huge success from the start and Bunnell quickly realized he had a winning product on his hands. In early April, reportedly without Lee's knowledge or permission, Bunnell obtained a patent for "a new and useful improvement in chairs." He called it the Westport Plank Chair. For the next 20 years, he manufactured the chairs, signing each one. How It Became Known As the Adirondack Chair The Adirondack Mountains lie west of the town of Westport, where the chairs were first created. In the Adirondack Mountains, there was a convalescent home for tuberculosis patients. Some caregivers at the home used the chairs as seating for the patients to sit outside and breathe in the fresh mountain air. Voila! The design came to be known as the Adirondack chair. Throughout the years there have been modifications such as rounded backs and contoured seats. Additional pieces have also been added to the original design such as Adirondack benches and rockers. All of these can be made of engineered wood or recycled plastic lumber in addition to traditional woods. You will often see these chairs on the beach, in the mountains, on backyard decks or around the pool. "Adirondacking" is a term coined in the South which means you are sitting in an Adirondack rocker. This term could be used to describe public picnics where the Adirondack chair is the main seat used or when people are sitting down in one of the chairs outside grocery stores while taking a break from shopping.