Wicker furniture has a long history that spans nearly 5,000 years – from ancient Egyptian rattan weaving, to the outdoor wicker furniture of our present day. The word “wicker” is of Scandinavian descent and originates from the words wika which means “to bend” and vikker which means “willow.” Wicker has been around for thousands of years and is in fact one of the oldest furniture-making techniques recorded in history.
In order to understand the history of wicker furniture, it’s important to be able to distinguish the difference between wicker and rattan (see related topics). Wicker is a type of weave and rattan is the material. The two terms are often mistakenly used interchangeably. Originally used as a basket weaving technique, wicker evolved to be used to make many different items.
Timeline of Wicker Furniture
- First recordings of wicker furniture date back to 3,000 B.C.
- Victorian Wicker becomes popular during the Golden Era of the Victorian Era (1860-1880).
- Cyrus Wakefield, known as the Father of the Wicker Industry, founds Wakefield Rattan Company in 1851.
- 1897 Wakefield Rattan Company merges with Heywood Brothers & Company to form the Heywood-Wakefield Company.
- Arts and Crafts Movement in the early 1900’s brings about a revival of wicker.
- Wicker becomes popular in the 1960’s.
- Synthetic resin wicker becomes a popular commercial grade product in the mid 2000’s.