The truth behind Vivek Ramaswamy’s Thomas Jefferson swivel chair claim


Vivek Ramaswamy said that Thomas Jefferson invented the swivel chair. Did he?

The candidates were asked at Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate which presidents they would take the most inspiration from. Ramaswamy named Jefferson, saying among other things that the third president had invented the swivel chair.

“He was 33 years old when he wrote the Declaration of Independence. You are all sitting on the swivel chair today. He invented that swivel chair while he was at it, while writing that Declaration of Independence,” Ramaswamy said.

Jefferson is widely credited with inventing his own swivel chair in 1775, which he called the Revolving Windsor Armchair. And Monticello, an organization dedicated to preserving Jefferson’s history, corroborates the swivel chair’s role in the writing of the Declaration of Independence.

But it’s possible he was beaten to the invention of the office furniture staple.

An earlier prototype of the chair dates back to an illustrated manuscript from Martin Löffelholz von Kolberg in 1505, according to the Karlsruher Institut für Technologie.

The German pediatrician conceived of a chair that could twist on its legs and adjust its height.

Von Kolberg’s sketchbook also includes designs for other inventions and tools.

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