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A German Invention: The Strandkoerbe

A German Invention: The Strandkoerbe

From time to time modernizations are associated by astounding and funny conditions.

The Strandkoerbe

The history of the roofed wicker beach chairs started with an, let´s call it – indisposition of an older lady, born in Rostock. Her rheumatism was a trigger for a momentous invention of a local basketmaker from Warnemünde, Germany. At the there located imperial beach resort our lady intended to spend her vacations – whether despite or because of her back pain, belongs in the realm of speculation.

You can take it for sure, with the heavy winds blowing over the beach she didn´t have the best conditions around for her recovery. But being a stubborn lady she evertheless succeeded with her undertaking. A local basketmaker, Wilhelm Bartelmann, provided help. He started building a special furniture, solid enough to protect its users against stormy winds. This invention was called a “beach stool”. The German term for this construction has become Strandkorb.

This roofed wicker beach chairs, invented in this way in 1882, wasn´t in line with what we have in mind thinking of a comfortable and good looking seating. The 1-seater rather resembled a large box than a and had a strong vertical alignment. But the first 2-seater, constructed shortly after in 1883, already went more into the direction of our current aesthetic expectations regarding a beach chair. Users could stretch out their whole bodies with this new style.

In the same year the first Strandkorb could be rented. A hiring service was founded in Warnemünde near the lighthouse, managed by the basketmaker´s wife, Elisabeth Bartelmann. The business of the truly engaged Bartelmann couple expanded in the period following.

So with the arising of the 20th century the roofed wicker beach chair had been well established as an usual piece of furniture along the beaches. In the twenties roofed wicker beach chairs took off for a remarkable national and international career. Nowadays you will find them all across Germany (even in the German “Texas”, that means the region of Bavaria), Europe and even in Japan.

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