Wicker Furniture History - From The Pharaohs To Your Patio

Posted by Dan Jolly on Jul 13, 2012 10:56:00 AM

Ebel outdoor wicker patio furniture

If you have read some of our past blogs then you already know that wicker furniture can enhance your outdoor living areas and that collections such as the Leeward wicker collection by Lane Venture, can bring relaxation to your home, but did you know that wicker furniture has been around since ancient Egypt? As it turns out, over five thousand years ago they enjoyed the classic comforts and traditional beauty of wicker just like we do. Wicker furniture has come a long way since Egyptians lounged on it from the patios of their pyramids.

Wicker Is Discovered

Several years ago, archaeologists digging in Egypt discovered pieces of wicker furniture made of swamp grass and reeds confirming what historians had theorized for years. They believed that Egyptians used the grass growing along the Nile river to make a wide variety of furniture such as baskets, chests and chairs. These pieces eventually left the area via trade and became popular amongst Roman emperors who in turn began to use wicker in their own furniture designs. Wicker furniture became a world wide phenomenon as sea traders introduced it to cultures who had never seen a piece of naturally constructed furniture before. Could you imagine the relief of sitting on a piece of furniture for the first time when your whole life you fought over who got to sit on the comfortable rock? Furthermore, ancient pieces of wicker furniture have been discovered in Portugal, Great Britain and even Pompeii.

The Use Of Rattan

Wicker furniture being weaved using RattanThe next big leap came with the discovery of the use of rattan in regions of Southeast Asia. Rattan is a climbing palm with over six hundred different types of species and can grow to great lengths, the largest ever being recorded at over five hundred feet. The skin is peeled from the cane and it is the skin that is used as the weaving material. The remaining cane can be used as the frame for the furniture or for others uses such as martial arts weapons, handles for musical percussion instruments or as an actual cane for assisted walking. During the Victorian era in England, wicker furniture became a very popular outdoor fixture amongst the wealthy and an object of idolization for the working class.

Scientific Advancements

While wicker furniture was becoming more common, production was limited due to the labor-intensive process of acquiring the Rattan strips and of the actual hand weaving. As well, rattan wicker is susceptible to deterioration in the extreme heat, as well as cold and humid climates. All of which changed with the advent of polyethylene synthetic fibers (a fancy way of saying plastic). Furniture manufactures now had a much more affordable way to produce the wicker material while maintaining the same classic look and boosting the life of the furniture considerably.

Wicker Furniture Today

There are many variations of synthetic wicker with virtually all of them being infused with UV inhibitors which slow the damage from the countless hours of sunshine. Wicker is available in many different finishes, and features a metal frame (typically aluminum) to ensure lasting durability. Combined with cushions, wicker patio furniture provides unrivaled deep seating comfort. For over five thousand years wicker furniture has been a staple of relaxation and we look forward to seeing what the next five thousand years hold for the wicker furniture industry.

Browse of our large selection of fine wicker furniture to see what manufactures have learned over the last five millenniums.

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Topics: Outdoor Furniture, Durable Outdoor Furniture, Wicker Furniture, Patio Furniture Trends