How Does a Recliner Work?

Written by paul bright
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How Does a Recliner Work?
(Kevin Teague)

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Resting After A Hard Day's Work

The ability to relax in a comfortable chair after a hard day's work can be seen as desirable for the western world's working class. The reclining chair is a perfect example of how man can adapt to his surroundings and create objects to suit his needs.

Initial Design

A reclining chair is an armchair that has a high back and a built-in footrest. When someone sits in the reclined position, pressure is alleviated from the lower back because of the tilt and from the feet because of the extended footrest. Further spinal pressure is relieved when the user puts his arms on the armrest. Many recliners are made of hard wood frames since they are designed to move and adjust shape. The actuating parts are usually made of metal for better durability, while the covering material is either leather or a flexible fabric.

Lean Back

Many common reclining chairs are actuated in one of two ways: shifting the body weight to push the chair back or by pulling a lever. Regardless of the actuating method, the first position is usually when the backrest tilts backwards approximately -9.44 degrees Crom the original starting position. On the next backwards weight shift or lever pull, the foot rest extends from the chair and stops when it is parallel to the ground, with the supporting metal parts locking into place to keep it from returning. In some recliners, the backrest simultaneously tilts backwards another 10 or 15 degrees. This puts the sitter in a position where the head is just high enough to see over his feet, with knees bent enough to prevent blood circulation cut-off.

Modern Recliners

More modern recliners can be actuated electronically via a wired hand control, giving the sitter greater variability in position choice. They also provide lower lumbar support and extra padding on the top of the backrest to support the head in the tilted position. Some chairs even come with heating or massaging options. Other recliners are made special for the elderly or physically disabled; they have an additional actuating method that tilts the chair forward so they can easily get in and out of the chair.

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