With over 4 million articles, Wikipedia is an invaluable resource, whether you're throwing a term paper together at the last minute, or running down the list of Quiddich teams so you can decide who to support. But follow enough links, and you get sucked into some seriously strange places. We explore some of Wikipedia's oddities in our 4,257,369-week series, Wiki Wormhole.
This Week's Entry: List of Chairs
What It's About: You may not give much thought to the humble chair, but someone out there has, compiling a list of over 130 types of chair. Designs range from the Watchman's Chair, built with a forward slant so the watchman in question doesn't fall asleep; to the Fighting Chair (less exciting than it sounds), used by fisherman for extra leverage against a strong catch; to the Poofbag Chair, a foam-filled beanbag chair and a missed opportunity for whichever Arrested Development writer feeds Tobias his lines.
Strangest Fact: Ikea once sold an inflatable chair upholstered with fabric. It didn't last.
Controversy: Wiki user Toyokuni3 says of the barrel chair, "i doubt very seriously that the furniture in this image is 'restored'. it's almost certainly reproductions."
Thing We Were Happiest To Learn: There's such a thing as a "Friendship Bench," described as "a place in a school playground where a child can go when he or she wants someone to talk to." Sadly, no such bench existed when we were in school.
Thing We Were Unhappiest To Learn: The ice cream chair is not made of ice cream, but is in fact a chair with a heart-shaped back used in ice cream parlors.
Also noteworthy: Frank Gehry came to prominence with his design of the "wiggle chair," one piece out of a set of mostly-cardboard furniture called "Easy Edges" the architect designed in the early 1970s.
Best link to elsewhere on Wikipedia: The only links are to pages for particular chairs. One worthwhile one is the 10 Downing Street Guard Chairs, which is not a type of chair, but two actual chairs. In the 1800s, the seat of power in Britain was guarded by two men sitting in Chippendale leather chairs. Each chair had a drawer underneath full of hot coals to keep the guards warm while on duty.