Blog Archives

The Original Plastic Classroom Stacking Chair

25 July 2011  |  Admin

In celebration of a furniture design classic, we look at the demands placed on commercial furniture and one furniture designer who transformed the UK school classroom.

As commercial furniture suppliers, we are very big fans of Polypropylene / Plastic Stacking Chairs. Most, if not all of us, have sat in at least one plastic chair. Our School classrooms are filled with them, our Community Centre's have them in store for large events, Village Halls can keep them for decades.

Stacking plastic chairs are incredibly cheap and perform for generations; plastic stacking chairs can be passed from school to village hall to scout group and remain in regular heavy use while alternatives barely last five years.

School classroom furniture in particular, needs to be strong, easy to clean and cheap. Our stacking chairs are available as nursery chairs, primary school chairs in fact the shells and frames are so easily modified that we have children's chairs for all ages.

Kirkhouse stacking plastic chairs typically have a classroom lifespan of thirty years; in many cases over 10,000 students could potentially use our plastic classroom chairs in this time.

Plastic stacking chairs are ergonomically comfortable and strong; when stacking plastic chairs, most users simply drop the chairs on top of one another - there is no need to delicately place them.

Our customers often ask for strong, cheap stacking chairs (comfort is also a question - but all of our chairs are comfortable) and no chair meet these requirements like the Plastic chair; for that we must thank Robin Day.

It's been said that the factory producing the original Polyside chair, made more money in suing the manufacturers of various copies. Regardless, the Polyside sold in it's millions from 1963 onwards and is consequently one of the best known furniture designs of the last century.

Polyside had it's problems however; the original steel frames were of such ingenious design, that they could be hand welded in their thousands at minimal cost: Unfortunately, the Steel was often of insufficient quality, and some frames were known to break. Furthermore, Polypropylene is hard and does not retain heat particularly well - many users will prefer an upholstered seat.

It is common for customers to choose upholstered chairs for their perceived comfort, however seat padding often makes little difference over a long sitting. We usually advise that chairs of any type and cost will be comfortable for a sitting of two hours - longer than this and users need to take a break.

Redesigns and modified copies of the Polyside stacking plastic chair, were sometimes better than the original; following the introduction of new British standards in the 1980's, the number of Plastic shell manufacturers rapidly increased. Kirkhouse is regularly contacted by Church Halls and Village Halls looking to add to their old plastic chair stock, only to discover that their 30 year old shells are no longer in production.

We're very glad to announce that the Polyside itself is having a makeover: The plastic shell remains one of the best, however the strengthened M5 frame introduced in the 1980's is being phased out. Modern steel tube is being brought to the original frame formers, allowing the classic frame shape to be brought back into the classroom.

The Polyside stacking chair is widely recognised as a furniture design classic, for those looking to buy furniture, in particular classic school furniture, Kirkhouse now offer the original Polyside classroom chair for sale from our UK furniture shop.

We're here to help: 01670 81 00 44