What is the Difference Between Muskoka Chairs and Adirondack Chairs?

What is the Difference Between Muskoka Chairs and Adirondack Chairs?
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You may not be familiar with the names, but you will definitely be familiar with the comfortable and stylish good looks of this iconic garden armchair which to all extents and purposes, is called the Adirondack in America and the Muskoka in Canada. Is that the only difference though between the two? Or is there much more than the name which sets these two outdoor reclining seats, each with their instantly recognizable wooden plank designs and wide armrests,  apart from each other?

Everybody loves a bit of comfort and elegance when they are reclining outdoors in the shade, and one thing is for sure, whether you call it a Muskoka or refer to it instead as an Adirondack, both these chairs, along with their modern-day highly weather resistant poly-lumber counterparts, are classically contoured and deliver chic comfort and style.

Today we’re going to delve in a bit deeper and discoed the history behind the Adirondack chair and reveal any comparison and differences between the Adirondack and Muskoka so that we can settle the great debate as to what the difference is between the Muskoka and Adirondack Chairs.

Muskoka Chair vs. Adirondack Chair

Both are characterized by featuring low-level shorts legs with a bent reclining style seat, a higher than average back and also wider armrests. There’s nothing more inviting or comforting on a hot summer’s day than kicking back in style and reclining in your wooden-slated garden chair to chew the breeze and enjoy a refreshing cold drink with family and friends. Literally, time flies by as you unwind and while away the hours.

So far, the two are relatively indistinguishable from each other and even if you do recognize the names, could you really identify one from the other? According to our research, there is at least one distinguishing feature, but it’s not necessarily one that the untrained eye would immediately recollect.

The Principal Difference Between the Two Popular Outdoor Armchairs

Overall, if they’ve been constructed true to their original intended form and design, the Adirondack will be 2 inches higher from the ground and measure 2 inches wider between the armrests when compared with its Muskoka chair equivalent.

Another apparent design difference is that the genuine Adirondack should be constructed with a flat yoke at the back of the seat whereas a purist Muskoka chair should instead be built with a slightly curved yoke. So there you have it, there are two key differences but not necessarily hugely significant ones to a casual observer.

What About the History of the Muskoka and Adirondack Chairs?

The original and much-beloved chair that is so synonymous today with classic Americana outdoor decor took its name from the mountainous upstate New York region where the inventor, cited with creating the first Adirondack chair, had his country cottage. Wanting to sit and enjoy the great outdoors and create a refuge for his friends and family to escape the heat of NYC in the summer, he enlisted them in helping him design and construct the perfectly comfortable, spacious and stylish outdoor seat.

We’re told that he built over 20 different prototypes until the model recognizable today was firmly established. It was made from several pieces of knot-free wood to provide it with that sleek and comfortable finish and sported a slightly bent back, broad seat and wide armrests. Having been creatively borne so to speak in the mountain range bearing the same name, it become known by that same name, the Adirondack chair.

What Happened Next?

Apparently, Lee offered the design to a carpenter friend of his who was out of work and in need of something to tide him over the winter months. That friend, Thomas Bunnell, instantly recognized that Lee’s prototype chair had commercial potential and without his consent, he filed for a patent for the chair which he successfully received in 1905. He subsequently went on to market and manufacture a similar style chair for the next 20 years which he called the Westport.

Over the years, other manufacturers went on to refine and improve that original design, using slats rather than single slabs and that was when the Adirondack chair was truly popularized in the US, making it into mail order kits being sold via catalogs in the 1940s. It was brought into Canada by someone who had been visiting New York and went on to then be manufactured in Canada under a different name, that of the Muskoka chair.

Some References Argue That There are No Differences

While we’ve established two points of difference between Muskoka Chairs and Adirondack Chairs, many argue that really there is no real tangible difference at all. Certainly what they do both very much have in common is that whether you live in Canada or the US, if you want a comfortable and good looking seat for your backyard or patio, either make an excellent choice.

Fast Forward to Today

What’s the latest in the debate between Muskoka Chairs and Adirondack Chairs? Safe to say that they’ve been receiving a bit of a renaissance and a resurgence in popularity of late with more variants in terms of styles, designs, color options and materials on offer than ever before. Convenient built-in features such as sliding Ottomans,  cup holders, and adjustable headrests to name just a few. These and other unique features are all designed to make the experience of sitting in one of these iconic chairs even more comfortable than ever before. Today different variants of wood are used with popular choices being made from pine and oak, however perhaps the most popular, durable and arguably expensive is made from teak. It’s an extremely hard wood, perfect for the outdoors and one which requires minimal maintenance. Poly-wood (a no-wood lumber but authentic looking) is also very popular these days as it’s eco-friendly but also highly weather resistant to all four seasons.

So whether you prefer to call it an Adirondack or a Muskoka, all we know is that it’s a highly prized, ultra-comfortable and supremely stylish looking garden chair that will last for generations and look good no matter what the outdoor setting you place it in.

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