Where does the term Chesterfield originate?

This is a question I am often asked; the answer is I’m not sure! I have customers the world over who have their own ideas; Canadians like to think that Chesterfield is a Canadian word although they refer to any sofa as a Chesterfield. I have done a little research and according to Robert Hendrickson in the Encyclopaedia of word and phrase origins, the term chesterfield is commonly applied to a sofa in honour of Philip Stanhope, the forth Earl of Chesterfield (1694-1773).

However, Hendrickson points out that it is more likely that a latter Earl of Chesterfield invented them, which earl he does not know. At any rate, according to the OED (Oxford English Dictionary), it was used to refer to a couch in 1900.

Although the oldest (Chesterfield style) sofa I’ve had the pleasure of working on was Authenticated to be mid 1870’s for King George by some Historians.


According to Carver in American Regional Dialects the term appears to have come into use in Canada around 1903 and in Northern California about the same time. The Jrnl. Canadian Linguistics Association (qtd. in OED) notes chesterfield seems to be in general use throughout Canada, though the usual American sofa is also known and used [3]. Almost everywhere in the U.S chesterfields are cigarettes and nothing more. In England, a davenport couch was sometimes referred to as a chesterfield but this is obsolete. In present day England and Australia a Chesterfield is now generally accepted to mean a deep buttoned leather sofa with arms that are of the same height as the back of the couch.

I would like a definitive answer to the origins of the Chesterfield sofa, can you help?
If you have any ideas about the origins of the word ‘Chesterfield’ or if you have any interesting Chesterfield facts contact us and we may give you a mention on the site.

About Us & Why Us

We are an Australian Company that are manufacturing Traditional English Leather Furniture in Brisbane, Made & Owned in Australia, our ranges include Chesterfields, Wing chairs, an art decor range of Chesterfields, a vast range of swivel chairs.

Our main range which we make, are the Leather swivel chairs range, all available in various colours of leather with the original English Antique Rub off Leathers; as well as Full Grain leathers, contempory leather and Aniline and pull-up leathers.. many polish wood shades available from traditional Mahogany, Dark Oak, Medium Oak, Light Oak, Golden Oak, Walnut, Teak, & many more. as well as a Colour match service!!

We offer our range of Chesterfields with sprung seats & hand built sprung back units, and fully sprung arms, offering a range of Chesterfield that Australia has not seen, the old stories of Chesterfield being so uncomfortable are no longer true, they are has comfortable or even more comfortable with the new advance technology in foams & fibre making them so soft & Luxurious.

We will also have the Art Deco range of Plain unbuttoned Chesterfields and wing chairs with various styles mixed contrasting leather and fabric combinations.

Our manufacturing production has been endorsed by The Australian Made Campaign; we are established in the Austrailian market with our high quality products.

We look forward in helping you with your Australian Made Furniture..

Again Thank you for Supporting Australian Made Furniture..