Stressless Recliners - A Brief History


The Ekornes story began in 1934 when Jens E. Ekornes returned from abroad with machines and remote production expertise.  The company he started at that time produced mainly mattresses and mattress springs.   In 1971, Ekornes had patented their reclining chair and the Stressless® recliner appeared for the first time on the Norwegian market.    The original chair had a metal base -- the wooden-based chairs would not debut until 1981.
Stressless chair number 500,000 was shipped in 1983 and by the time Ekornes had celebrated its 50th birthday in 1984, the company had 800 employees in several countries and had 75,000 square meters of production premises encompassing eight factories in Norway.

Three other notable dates are etched into the history of the Stressless® recliner:

  • In 1991, the PlusTM system was developed, patented and introduced on the Stressless® models.
  • In 1996, Ekornes became the first company to produce chairs in two and three sizes, taking into account that people with different builds need to have different chair sizes in order to sit comfortably.
  • And in 2003, the Stressless® chair was endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association, citing the sound ergonomic principles on which the chair is built. 

All Stressless® chairs and seats in Stressless® sofas are built with the PlusTM System, which allows the headrest to move forward as the chair reclines, thereby keeping the eyes focused on the television, book or magazine in which the occupant may be engaged.  Then, by grasping the headrest for a quick snap, it will like flat to maximize relaxation.   Complementing the PlusTM system is the lumbar support system that matches the changing contours of one's lumbar area.  As the chair glides to recline, the lumbar area curves outward to offer continual support of the lower back area.  The Glide System is a patented mechanism that enables the Stressless® seat to adjust to one's body weight with a slight turn of the wheel.

Rounding out the Ekornes product line are two- and three-seat sofas carrying either the Ekornes or Stressless® name.  Those with the Ekornes name feature stationary backs that match the reclining chair designs.  Those same two- and three-seat sofas designs are also available with individually reclining seats, and carry the Stressless® brand.