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A recliner similar to a Barcalounger

A Barcalounger is a type of recliner that originated from Buffalo, New York, and is named after the company which manufactured it. Like other recliners, Barcaloungers have moving parts to change things such as the inclination of the back.[1] Since the 2010 bankruptcy and 2011 re-emergence, they have been made in China.[citation needed]


The Barcalounger chair was introduced by the Barcalo Manufacturing Company of Buffalo, New York, which eventually became the Barcalounger Company. The chairs are currently produced in China.[citation needed]


The Barcalounger Company, once named the Barcalo Manufacturing Company, was founded by Edward J. Barcalo in 1896.[2] It is the oldest manufacturer of reclining chairs in the U.S.A.[3]

After the company filed for bankruptcy in 2010, it shuttered its facilities in Rocky Mount, North Carolina and Martinsville, Virginia, then restarted manufacturing at the plant in Morristown, Tennessee, in 2011, for manufacture of the Barcalounger chair.[4] It is owned by the private equity firm Hancock Park Associates.[5]

Barcalo Manufacturing also made beds in Welland, Ontario, under the Quality Beds name in the first decade of the 20th century.

Development of the "coffee break"[edit]

Barcalo, the country's oldest manufacturer of reclining chairs, is reputed to be the first American company to allow its employees coffee breaks, in 1902.[3]

In popular culture[edit]

In Kurt Vonnegut's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1965), Barcaloungers make an appearance in a reference to Kilgore Trout's novel 2 B R 0 2 B, where they provide luxury seating for wannabe suicides, with government encouragement; "2 B R 0 2 B" is actually a 1962 Vonnegut short story in which Barcaloungers do not figure. In the same author's Slaughterhouse-Five (1969), Billy Pilgrim is strapped to a yellow Barcalounger in the alien's flying saucer as he is abducted and taken to their planet.

In John Updike's Rabbit Is Rich (1981), a Barcalounger originally belonging to Grandpa Fred Stringer looms large in the tensions between Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom and his son Nelson.

In Cheers season 11, episode 8, Norm brings a Barcalounger into the bar for Thanksgiving dinner.

Joey and Chandler from the hit NBC sitcom Friends owned a set of Barcalounger recliners, which were often used as a plot device within the show.

In the "Call Me Irresponsible" episode of another hit NBC sitcom, Frasier (Season 1, Episode 7), the eponymous star brings a new girlfriend Catherine (played by Amanda Donohoe) home. They are about to have sex on the vibrating chair belonging to Marty Crane (Frasier's father). Frasier exclaims, "I won't be outperformed by a Barcalounger" before moving to the couch.

It is mentioned in the US version of the TV show Shameless, in the Season 5 premiere, titled "Milk of the Gods", as part of a conversation Mickey has with a potential furniture customer.

A 7-inch single by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes was called "In Your Barcalounger".

It is mentioned in the cinematic intro of the 1995 side-scrolling platform game Gex by publisher Crystal Dynamics.

It is the chair in which Paul's father always sits in Philip Roth's Letting Go.

It appears in the film BASEketball, starring Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

It is mentioned and seen in the (2000) drama film, The Family Man. Jack's (Nicolas Cage) friend Arnie (Jeremy Piven) says, “Oh I know, I put the Barcalounger in the center of the room, and it’s throwing everybody off.”

There is a mention in the (2003) film Runaway Jury, making a point that the average juror does not have a vested interest in the court proceeding, but that they would rather sit at home in their Barcalounger watching cable TV.

The Barcalounger is also mentioned in the Robin Williams film RV (2006): "...maybe even a Barcalounger that massages your ass and blows smoke at the same time."

In ‘’Falx Cerebri’’ (season 2, episode 6) of Sons of Anarchy, at a SAMCRO executive board meeting about the club’s possible retaliation, Bobby asks, “You think Zobelle is just sitting in his Barcalounger waiting for us to stop by?”

It is mentioned in Gilmore Girls season 7, episode 8, after Christopher and Lorelai come home from getting married in Paris. Christopher is trying to talk Lorelai into getting a Barcalounger with a waterfall in the wall behind it. Christopher describes it as “soft leather, button back pad, adjustable footrest.”

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Difference Between a Lounge and Recliner". August 8, 2017. Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  2. ^ "Barcalo of Buffalo". Western New York Heritage Press. Archived from the original on 6 May 2011. Retrieved 5 June 2011.
  3. ^ a b Laffler, William (12 November 1965). "Coffee Breaks Cost Industry $4 Billion Yearly". The Daily Messenger. Retrieved 18 March 2016. Some think it began during World War II. although the coffee break began shortly after the beginning of the 20th Century. Associated Industries of New York state reports the coffee break originated in 1902 at the Barcalo Manufacturing Co. in Buffalo. Alban W. Kirton, retired vice president of Barcalo, told UPI recently that in those days there were no automobiles and men and women had to get to work by riding a bicycle or trolley. They usually were at work at 8 o'clock in the morning, Kirton recalled. "Lunch time at 12:30 p.m. seemed a pretty long stretch off, so one of the men suggested having a break for coffee at 10 a.m.." Kirton said. "A'mid-afternoon break also helped to tide us over to dinner."
  4. ^ Thomas, Larry (11 October 2011). "Barcalounger Unveiling U.S.-Made Line". Furniture Today. Sandow Media LLC. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
  5. ^ Feintzeig, Rachel (2010-11-01). "Bankruptcy Sale Births New Barcalounger". WSJ. Retrieved 2020-01-21.

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