Ottoman (furniture)

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An ottoman in a living room

An ottoman is a form of couch which usually has a head but no back, though sometimes it has neither. It may have square or semicircular ends, and as a rule it is what upholsterers call "overstuffed”—that is to say no wood is visible.[1] It may be used as a stool, footstool,[2][3] coffee table,[4] or as an alternative to a sofa.[5] Ottomans are often sold as coordinating furniture with armchairs or gliders.[6] An ottoman can also be known as a footstool,[7] tuffet,[8] hassock,[9] "Sitee",[citation needed] or pouffe.[10][11] "Ottoman" may also denote an upholstered seat without a back or arms, but one that usually serves as storage, with the seat hinged to form a lid.

History[edit]

The ottoman traces its roots to furnishing practices in the Ottoman Empire, where it was the central piece of residential seating, generally designed as a low wooden platform intended to be piled with cushions. It was first designed as sectional furniture that wrapped around three walls of a room, before evolving into smaller versions that fit into the corner of a room[12] or circular padded seats surrounding a column or pole in a public room.

The ottoman was eventually brought to Europe from the Ottoman Empire in the late 18th century and named after its place of origin. The earliest known instance of the use of the name is ottomane in French in 1729,[13] while the first known recorded use in English occurs in one of Thomas Jefferson's memorandum books from 1789: "P[ai]d. for an Ottomane of velours d'Utrecht."[14] Over time, European ottomans took on a circular or octagonal shape through the 19th century, with seating divided in the center by arms or by a central, padded column that might hold a plant or statue. As clubs became more popular, so did the ottoman, which began to have hinged seats underneath to hold storage.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wikisource:1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ottoman
  2. ^ "Definition of OTTOMAN". www.merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2017-11-12. 
  3. ^ "Ottoman". The Free Dictionary. 
  4. ^ "How to Use an Ottoman as a Coffee Table - OttomanTray.net". OttomanTray.net. 2016-05-24. Retrieved 2017-11-12. 
  5. ^ "Ottomans For Decoration and Storage". Public Design Center. Archived from the original on 2012-05-01. Retrieved 2012-05-16. 
  6. ^ "How to Match an Ottoman and Chair". Overstock.com. Retrieved 2017-11-12. 
  7. ^ "footstool". The Free Dictionary. 
  8. ^ "tuffet". The Free Dictionary. 
  9. ^ "hassock". The Free Dictionary. 
  10. ^ "Pouf (seat)". Cambridge Dictionaries Online. Archived from the original on 2014-04-08. Retrieved 2012-05-16. 
  11. ^ "Pouf". dictionary.reference.com. Archived from the original on 2007-11-12. Retrieved 2012-05-16. 
  12. ^ a b "Ottoman". Britannica. Archived from the original on 2012-05-02. Retrieved 2012-05-16. 
  13. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Ottoman". Encyclopædia Britannica. 20 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 376. 
  14. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. "ottoman", accessed 6 March 2013.

External links[edit]

  • Aronson, Joseph. Encyclopedia of Furniture. 
  • "Ottoman". EtymologyOnLine.