Wilhelm Bartelmann – Beach Chair (c. 1882)

In the spring of 1882, the imperial basket-maker Wilhelm Bartelmann in Rostock, Germany was visited by Lady Elfriede von Maltzahn. She ordered a special chair to protect her from the wind and the sun on the beach. He wove the first single-seat covered beach with cane and willow. Other bathers marveled at this extraordinary seat requested him to make some. As demand increased rapidly in a very short time, he and his wife founded the first beach chair rental near the lighthouse in Warnemünde. At the same time, Bartelmann also built the first two-seater, which he also fitted with footrests, awnings and side tables. By 1900, Mr. Bartelmann family company had established six additional rental premises on the Baltic Sea, including Kühlungsborn, Graal and Müritz. Many North Sea resorts also received beach chairs, as can be seen from the old trade documents. The business continued to expand, but as Bartelmann did not want to see himself as a manufacturer, put great emphasis on being a craftsman, making every beach chair by hand.


Author: Marta García-Sampedro Fernández-Canteli

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