In 1923, Louis Duffey field patens “Theater Seating Equipment” in Massachusetts. It is a seat that can lower into the floor.
This was the first for ray into creating seats specific for cinema going.
At the time, normal seating was comprised mainly of wooden benches. These were uncomfortable if sat on for long, offered no support. The further back in the auditorium you were the less chance you could see the screen. Hats, coats, hair, and smoke all got in the way. The best seas at that time were in the front row.
In addition to the seats, Duffey said, “Further objects are to enhance the personal comfort of patrons to avoid any obstructions to the view at any time, and to provide a convenient clothes rack.”
There was to be a hook for coats and hats on the seats. A knob could operated the seats rising and returning below deck any time.
This did not catch on but it did get people thinking. Hats and smoke were very big issues then, much like cell phones now. Exhibitors wanted to get people in and out efficiently, but also provide enough comfort that they would want to return.
The rows of wooden benches were replaced by wooden seats. Art Deco brought another change with folding cast iron seats. Eliminating smoking lead to fabric being used.
to help fight TV’s death grip on cinema, seats became more luxurious. History echoes today as more sophisticated seat are being developed and installed to fight the death grip of streaming movies.
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