The first high chair came about in the U.K in the 17th century. Early high chairs were diverse wooden designs built to last and serve multiple purposes such as transporting a child from room to room (with wheels), assisting a child in eating, and serving as extra storage space (many high chairs had cabinetry below them). These wooden chairs also served as art pieces, worthy of showing off to other families; it was common to see ornate carvings in panels and turned spindles.
By the mid 20th century, a post-war baby boom greatly increased the demand for high chairs. The transition to mass production introduced metal frames, plastic trays, and cute “youthful” designs.
The wooden high chair makes a comeback around 1920 - 1950. Unlike the first high chairs, styles moved towards toned down, lighter wood finishes like pine and oak, with a simple chair + tray + footrest design.
Scandanavian design infiltrated the market in the 1970s—we began to see minimalist chairs with restraints and adjustable options such as height.
Today, millennial parents are quickly leaning towards sustainable designs, thus the resurgence of the all wood chair. Many current designs focus more on how they fit different lifestyles and stages of life.
While the high chair has evolved, we know this to be true: what’s old always becomes new again. Perhaps we’ll even see the return of retro designs via 3d printer!