Thomas Jefferson Invented The Swivel Chair And The First Tablet

Samuel Reason | June 27th, 2018

As you can imagine Thomas Jefferson was always a busy man, especially in 1775 as part of the Committee of Five men at the age of 33 he had been given the responsibility of drafting the Declaration of Independence. This has to be completed and presented to the Congress the following Summer.

Many descriptions of Jefferson portrait him as a self-contained and self-sufficient man and believed to also have been a pioneer of what we would now refer to as wellness and reflection. Jefferson believed that a true philosopher should also spend an equal amount of time on exercise and labor than studying books and writing papers. That it should all come together in a balance to give one’s life harmony. So it really comes as not much surprise that Jefferson was the man that invented the swivel chair and put down the groundworks for what we know today as the tablet.

The chair he was sitting in while writing just was not giving him enough movement, so he went out to fix that and his modification created the swivel chair. An iron spindle between the top and bottom half which allowed the chair to rotate. He even put a writing surface on one of the arms, in fact, he loved his invention so much that he took it with him back to his plantation in Monticello in 1776. Now it is in possession of the American Philosophical Society since 1836.

Not only did he invent the swivel chair, he also was an early pioneer of what we could describe as a laptop or tablet. When he prepared the Declaration of Independence he used a portable lap desk. It was a fold out mahogany writing surface which had a draw in for paper, pens, and ink. The size was the same as an early laptop, and by all accounts, Jefferson used this device almost daily.

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