About Library Steps
Library steps were a popular item of vintage furniture that were used to access high bookshelves in libraries. They were commonly used in large homes where the library shelves would often extend up from the floor to the ceiling. Library steps were often portable, so that the owner could move them to different areas of the library that were out of reach. Antique library steps can be original designs that date back to various periods, including the Victorian or Regency period, or they may be reproductions of originals or modern designs.
The majority of library steps were constructed from solid wood, such as mahogany, pine or oak. The solid nature of the wood was an important factor, due to their sturdy and reliable construction. Some library steps were designed to be straight step ladders that could be leaned against a wall, whilst others were curved around a central pole to maximise space. The steps would often be finished with polish to create a shiny surface and bring out the natural beauty of the wood. Modern versions may be produced from metal, such as aluminium, and include hand rails and non slip surfaces.
Metamorphic library steps
During the 18th Century a new design of library steps began to be produced, which offered the owner a multipurpose item of furniture that could quickly and easily be converted from a staircase into a chair or desk. Metamorphic library steps were primarily designed to save space and also for ease of transportation. Chair designs which contained library steps became particularly popular in the early 19th Century.