The History of the Bean Bag

The History of the bean bag

Everyone, at some point in their life has sat in a bean bag chair, and most of you have probably wondered how on earth they came about? Who originally came up with the idea to put polystyrene beans into a bag, and how did they became popular? In this blog, the team at Kloudsac looks back into the history of the much loved bean bag.

history of bean bag

The Sea Urchin Chair

There is much debate as to whether or not the Sea Urchin chair is in fact a predecessor of the bean bag. The Sea Urchin Chair was designed by Roger Dean while he was still in the Royal College of Art in 1967. It was one of the first chairs which adapted completely to the user. The Urchin consisted of twelve sections of foam, which were glued together and covered with various types of fur. Although the Urchin helped develop the idea for the beanbag chair, some people debate the fact is was even anything more than a modified Futon.

The Sacco (or Socco)

The bean bag chair we know today first came into existence in 1969. The Italian firm of Zanotta commissioned the designer Paolini to come up with a creative, aesthetically appealing and very comfortable chair. Cost, ease of maintenance, and appeal to the flower power generation of buyers we of key importance. They needed a chair that was stylish, practical, and fit with the ’60s lifestyle. The designers came up with the Sacco or the Socco as it became known overseas.

The original Sacco’s were pear shaped leather bags. The Sacco’s were initially filled with thermocol pellets but after a few years  they were replaced with polystyrene beads. This new chair became a very popular item because the Sacco was the first chair to adjust to the person sitting in it.

Although unconfirmed, it is rumoured that the Sacco was actually discovered by accident. This discovery came from a Styrofoam factory that put all the leftover pieces from the production line in a bag. It is said that factory workers would sit on these bags during their coffee and cigarette breaks..

The Sacco became an overnight sensation, and was one of the most popular icons of the 1970’s. As the Sacco placed the user close to the floor and allowed a variety of lounging positions, it met the casual social lifestyle of the times.

sacco bean bag

The ’70s Bean Bag Chairs

The 1970’s bean bag chairs as we know them today made their way into department stores around the world. The bean-bag chairs of the 70’s were very much like the high-quality bean bag chairs you will find today – they were made of durable leather and filled with polystyrene beans.

The bean bag was so popular because consumers liked that the chair moulded to each individual users body shape. Professional decorators and interior designers of the times liked the lightweight, flexible nature of bean bag chairs. Therapists and carers observed that the bean bag chair helped children with sensory-integration troubles. Additionally, doctors recommended bean bag chairs for patients who were recovering from back surgery.

70s bean bag

The ’90s Bean Bag Chairs

During the ’90s, the bean bag chair underwent a revolution, from a traditional tear shape or a ‘blob’, to coming in lots of different shapes and sizes. A variety of different styles of bean bag chairs made their way into the marketplace, such as bean bag sofas, recliners, and beds. The 90’s also saw safety improvements and changes made to the bean bag. They were made more childproof, mainly through childproof zips being added to a bean bag. This resulted after a number of children were injured and even suffocated to death after crawling inside the older style of bean bag chairs and inhaling the beans.

In March 1995, bean bag safety became law. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled 12,000,000 bean bag chairs and required all chairs sold after that date to have zippers that were childproof.

Today’s Bean Bag Chairs

Bean Bags in today’s market come in all different shapes, sizes and fabrics, and cater for every buyer in the market. From high-end fabrics and designs, to cheaper, more affordable bean bags with less durable and cheaper fabrics, there’s something for everyone and every use. You can even put your bean bag in the pool!

The biggest change to the bean bag market of recent times comes through Kloudsac. Replacing beans with a premium shredded foam mix we call ‘DreamFoam’, Kloudsac has perfected the bean bag chair. No more noise, no more re-fills, Kloudsac’s come full, and stay full. They never go flat! Aside from traditional bean fillings going flat, the other big issue with them is that the zips and seams would wear, and the beanbag would eventually pop! Kloudsac’s shredded foam filling compacts and moulds around the users body, unlike beans that push to the sides and wreck the beanbags seams and zips – this ensures your Kloudsac will last forever.

You can still find traditional bean bags in the market; however with the introduction of Kloudsac 4 years ago, they all seem a little out-dated. Kloudsac manufactures shredded foam filled bean bag chairs with washable, removable fabric covers. With the use of our shredded foam filling, we have revolutionised not only bean bags, but comfort. So be part of the revolution and get yourself a Kloudsac Bean bag chair today!

mocha brown kloudsac bean bag

For further information regarding to the individual products please look at the individual product pages below.


If you have anymore questions or queries please don’t hesitate to contact the KloudSac team.



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