History of Antique Footstools

Written by michelle fortunato
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History of Antique Footstools
Footstools have evolved throughout history. (Stool image by annalovisa from Fotolia.com)

A descendant of the common stool, the footstool has evolved throughout history. Whether crudely made or elaborate in design, a wooden footstool provided a comfortable alternative for a seated person whose feet were either unable to reach the floor or unwilling to rest on a draughty surface.

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Egyptian Origin

Ancient Egyptians required a bit of assistance to ascend chairs crafted high off the ground. A footstool, one of the first pieces of furniture manufactured by Egyptians, provided the necessary lift and supported the sitter's feet while seated.


From the 1600s through the early 1800s, crickets---small footstools that also provided seating for children---measured no more than 12 inches high. According to the Peggy McClard Antiques website, painted cricket footstools are currently priced below full-size pieces and sought after by decorators and antique furniture enthusiasts.

Fender Stools

Fashioned in the 18th century, fender stools---long, low footstools placed in front of the fireplace---warmed an entire family's cold feet. Hot water bottles made of pewter and ceramic were sometimes built inside of footstools to help thaw chilly toes.

Regency and Victorian

Antique footstools from the early 1800s Regency period consist of feet and frames with brass inlays. Later, in the Victorian era, drawing rooms, where guests gathered after dinner, boasted fancy braided and tasselled-style footstools. Footstool covers adorned with embroidery were introduced at this time and are valued today by collectors.

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