The History of Bean Bags

Bean bags can give a modern and innovative look to your home. However, did you know that some types of bean bags were already being enjoyed and used as early as 2000 BC?

Yes, you read that right! The history of bean bags is actually as beautiful as their style!

When were bean bags invented?

According to historians, Egyptians have already been using bean bags as early as 2000BC. 

The common Egyptians used to sit on sacks made of dried beans and pebbles when watching games and other recreational activities. This is because hard chairs (often made of wood and gold) are only meant for those who were deemed to be ‘royalty.’

Moreover, for normal people and citizens, sitting on bean bags would not put them in a more elevated seating position than those of royalty. Sitting in an elevated area when there was royalty around was considered a major offense.


Source: Sleepyhead Commercial

The West Indians, who were the original inhabitants of mainland America used bean bags, too. Several tribes, such as the Blackhawks, fill sacks with pig bladders and dried beans. However, instead of just sitting on the bean bags, they toss it around just like playing Cornhole.


During the 12th Century, the Chinese also used bean bags as a training tool for their martial arts, specifically for Taichi. They fill small bags with sand, dry beans, and even small rocks. They hang these bags and strike them using various parts of their body.

While all of these can be loosely considered bean bags, it’s not until 1968 that the bean bags we know today were invented.


Source: Architectural Digest India

Alt text: sacco-first-bean-bag-brand-from-italy

Italian designers Piero Gatti, Cesare Paolini, and Franco Teodoro manufactured and sold the bean bags we know today. They were inspired by some of their gallery staff, who they say to be sitting in bags filled with styrofoam while smoking cigarettes and drinking coffees in their backdoor.

They immediately turned their idea into a project and created the original bean bag known as "Sacco.” The first bean bag chair was pear-shaped, made with leather fabric, and is filled with styrofoam beads.

Why did bean bags become popular?

It’s no surprise that bean bags became popular in the whole world. As proven by the Egyptians, West Indians, and Chinese, the function of bean bags is unlimited. You can turn it into a chair, a ball, or even a sparring tool!

But most importantly, it is the uniqueness and extreme comfort of bean bags that greatly contributed to its popularity. 

Because of bean bags, people realized that there’s actually a way to slump on the floor without getting dirty or hurting your back! And we all know that lying on the floor is one of the guilty pleasures of most people.

Bean bags feel and look unique compared to regular chairs. No wonder when the three Italian designers launched Sacco, their major target market was the hippieswhich were the ultimate influencers back then.

Up until now, people enjoy the style and comfort their bean bags provide. Whether it’s watching a film in your living room, playing a video game, or just resting—you simply can’t go wrong with a bean bag!

Amazed by the history of bean bags? Don’t you realize that getting one for yourself technically means you have a historical item! Seriously, it would be nice to experience why everyone in almost every historic period loved having their bean bags!