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The Tripolina Chair

August 16, 2014

We’ve been searching for new portable chairs to take to the beach or summer concerts in the park. My wife suggested leather butterfly chairs which is how I came across the Tripolina. Originally designed by Joseph Fenby, who patented the design in 1881, the Tripolina was a folding chair made with animal hide, wood frames, and metal swivel joints. It inspired the 20th century metal-framed butterfly chair.

Prior to WWII, Tripolina chairs were manufactured in Tripoli, Libya by an Italian manufacturer. These days there are numerous furniture manufacturers making this style of chair, most using leather but some using other hides or canvas.

The Citizenry is a new company that works with Argentinian craftsmen to make their leather Tripolina. It’s a limited edition of 30 and is $650.



Italian craftsman Dario Alfonsi makes a tripolina in a variety of colors, even a patchwork version though we prefer this red with a dark teak frame


Boston retailer Diseno has a Tripolina with a less curvy “butterfly” silhouette and more of a camp chair look. The canvas versions start at $299 and the leather at $499. It’s also available through Houzz.

Idaho-based American Camp Chair makes a canvas version of the Tripolina that they call their Ranger Chair. It’s a little more utilitarian than the other chairs displayed, but it’s made in the USA and looks like it can take a beating. Whereas the other chairs shown are more Land Rover Defender, this would be an International Scout. American Camp Chair sells their chair for $239 but they discount it to $219 for 2 or more.


The Tripolina Chair is a classic design that will add a little more style to your next picnic or camping trip.


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