Lounge and sofa

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Airmid
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Lounge and sofa

Postby Airmid » Fri Sep 15, 2006 4:23 am

Now that I came across an instance where one newspaper had "sofa" where the other reads "lounge", I have been wondering about the use of these words. In fact, before I came to read Lizzie-material I never had heard of the word "lounge" being used as a synonym for "sofa", so I have been mightily puzzled at first how it was possible that one could lie down on a room :grin:. But then, almost all material I have read from this period has been British English, not American.

So, would you say "lounge" is a typical American word? Or perhaps a period or regional word? What would be the cultural background of the people who used "lounge" or "sofa" in those days? Are the words "sofa" and "lounge" still used on a daily basis in New England?

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Postby Shelley » Fri Sep 15, 2006 9:28 am

Good question. The Brits call what we call a living room a lounge meaning room. I have never in 35 years in New England heard a native Yankee call a sofa a lounge. In the south we always called a lounge a "day bed". It was someplace to flop during the day to catch a rest or a few winks. Sometimes I have heard the word lounge for the little couch in Lizzie's room or the daybed in the diningroom. Often these items of furniture had no arms, just a few plump cushions. There was also a fainting couch or Recamier (after the French courtesan Madame Recamier) which had a raised back on half the lounge and one armrest.

In the era of tight corsets, ladies could not just kick back and flop down on a sofa- they sort of leaned to one side and draped themselves decorously!

I expect Lizzie put on her wrapper and draped herself modestly on her lounge (or fainting couch) because it may have been unseemly to be in bed before a bevy of men stomping in and out all over the rooms.

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Postby Shelley » Fri Sep 15, 2006 9:42 am

A 1870 daybed
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Postby Shelley » Fri Sep 15, 2006 9:43 am

A fainting couch, swooning couch or Recamier for ladies with the "vapors"

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Postby Shelley » Fri Sep 15, 2006 9:44 am

A popular Eastlake settee, usually sold in three piece suites for the parlor- with 2 matching chairs, nearly always having caster wheels. Settees usually could sit 2 people, sometimes called a loveseat-not as big as a sofa.

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Postby Shelley » Fri Sep 15, 2006 9:47 am

A 1890 sofa in turkey red velvet- probably for a parlor set.
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Postby Shelley » Fri Sep 15, 2006 9:50 am

Victorian chaise lounge- a lot like the fainting couch and Recamier

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Postby Shelley » Fri Sep 15, 2006 9:54 am

This is my choice for what was probably in the dining room as the daybed. Rebello says theis daybed was green-striped. It would fit the jog perfectly. This is a suite of man's armchair, ladies' chair and daybed- circa 1865.
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Postby Shelley » Fri Sep 15, 2006 9:59 am

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Spot for the daybed

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Postby Shelley » Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:13 am

Victorian parlor furniture was not meant to be comfortable so guests would not overstay their welcome and courting couples would not get too "unabandoned". Legs on furniture at one point were modestly covered and referred to as limbs. (they also ate bosoms of chicken).

The family rooms had plenty of creature comforts from afghans and cushions to rockers and footstools. The Borden sofa of horsehair must not have been too comfy. Those were tied-springs on woven webbing , covered with excelsior or straw, muslin and that tough, long-wearing fabric incorporating hair from horse tails for strength. Andrew did not have much padding, so I imagine one did not linger in slothful ways on such a divan, settee, couch, sofa, lounge, davenport, or whatever! :grin:

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Postby Shelley » Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:25 am

The Victorian serpentine or tete-a-tete (head to head)
often seen in parlors or hotel or theatre lobbies

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Postby Kat » Fri Sep 15, 2006 2:30 pm

Wow that's a lot of coffee Shell!
:smile:

Thanks for all the furniture.
Down here it's always called a "chaise lounge."
On TV, on the show reDesign, Mr. Brown calls it a "shezz."

My impression was that the sofa was sometimes called the lounge in testimony, but what Lizzie had in her bedroom was not a sofa.

How does Len know the lounge in the dining room was green striped?
Is that what he said?

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Postby Shelley » Fri Sep 15, 2006 3:44 pm

I agree. What Lizzie had in her room I firmly believe was either a chaise lounge similar to what is there now, or a small daybed.

Len says the green-stripe is in the trial testimony.

I just LOVE Victorian furniture and textiles- ya think? :grin:

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Postby Shelley » Fri Sep 15, 2006 3:46 pm

Chaise lounge is a corruption of chaise longue- (long chair)which was an extended chair, sort of a chair with built on ottoman or footstool.
Love that trivia! :lol:

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Postby Harry » Fri Sep 15, 2006 3:54 pm

Shelley @ Fri Sep 15, 2006 4:44 pm wrote:Len says the green-stripe is in the trial testimony.


Kat, Shelley - Len's correct. It's in Hillard's trial testimony, page 1115:

"Q. Now you may go on and tell us what you did with the dress skirt, under skirt, and dress waist?
A. I rolled them up with what I call a lounge cover that was taken from the dining room.
Q. (Counsel saying nothing but holding up a green striped cover).
A. Yes, sir, I should say that is the one.
Q. This was taken from the dining room?
A. Yes, sir
; I rolled them up, rolled them in a paper and tied them up, and Mr. Jennings brought them down on to Main street. I met him at the corner of the granite block, and he passed them over to me.
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Postby Kat » Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:06 pm

That's great Harry!
That was a slip-cover maybe?
Is that what that sounds like?

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Postby Shelley » Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:24 pm

Yep- like a slipcover. My old granny kept a cover on her daybed too since it was used by so many people to flop out on during the day. It was grey and maroon- hadn't thought of it in decades! It could be easily taken off and washed. Come to think of it- her daybed was also in the diningroom. Granny was born in 1893.

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Postby Airmid » Mon Sep 18, 2006 12:59 am

Thanks Shelley, that's a wonderul collection!
So apparently "lounge" came from "chaise longue", interesting. If I can find the time I'll do some checking to see who was in the habit of calling the sofa in the sitting room a "lounge".

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Postby Kat » Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:02 am

Porter uses the word "lounge" mulltiple times in his book "Fall River Tragedy."

Knowlton, in his closing argument at trial, uses "lounge" once referring to the couch in Lizzie's room, and once referring to the sofa upon which Andrew was found.

Robinson seems discerning when he calls the couch in Lizzie's room a "lounge" and also the one in the dining room.
He only uses the word those 2 times in his closing arguments.

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Postby Shelley » Tue Sep 19, 2006 6:48 am

Asking Lizzie if her room might be searched view
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Postby Shelley » Tue Sep 19, 2006 6:50 am

Lizzie responds from her fainting couch or lounge
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Postby Shelley » Tue Sep 19, 2006 6:51 am

I imagine it was a tight squeeze for Rev. Buck and Lizzie both on this piece of furniture. She must have been sitting. :grin:

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Postby Kat » Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:07 am

That's a good view of the lounge of Lizzie- thank you!

BTW: I notice Lizzie gestures a lot with her hands... :peanut19:
I love it!

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Postby Shelley » Wed Sep 20, 2006 6:57 am

That's usually from trying to hold the camera, take the photo and line up the shot from the character's POV -and to give a little scale sometimes. It can be hard to handle :grin: I wonder if old Lizzie might have been a little theatrical with her gestures? :peanut12: The scary part is- I can just about SEE her sitting on that lounge in that pink striped wrapper.

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Postby Harry » Wed Sep 20, 2006 8:52 am

Here's a little fake photo I did of Lizzie in her wrapper. She's not on the lounge but in her room. :grin:

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Postby Shelley » Wed Sep 20, 2006 9:09 am

Just LOVE it!! Harrington could not have done better. :lol:

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Postby snokkums » Sun Oct 01, 2006 1:33 pm

I am from the mid west, and we always said couch for the sofa. I have moved to the south and they down here say sofa. So maybe it's a regional thing.
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Postby 1bigsteve » Sun Oct 15, 2006 10:50 pm

In California we call them both couch and sofa.

"Couch Potato" or "Sofa Spud." Same thing. Chaise Lounge and Davenport are common words heard here from the older folks.

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Re: Lounge and sofa

Postby Dr. Ambiguous » Sat Jan 28, 2017 6:15 am

Hi, new from Australia and where to get this plump cushions? I am trying but still not successful!
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Re: Lounge and sofa

Postby mbhenty » Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:16 pm

The room where Andrew was discovered murdered was the sitting room. This room was primarily used to receive company, conduct business, or for casual entertaining. As for the Living room, that was more a formal room used by the family to relax or entertain a function, etc. Couches were usually in the sitting room and sofas in the living room, but not necessarily a general rule. The word couch originated with the French, meaning to lay down or recline. (laying down).( :?: )

The 'couch' was more or less a place to sit and take a load off your feet. The word was taken from 'crouch' to sit or recline. If you were visited by a neighbor or friend you would entertain them in the sitting room where everyone would recline. More of a temporary practice then a "get yourself comfortable and stay a while." Even a psychiatrist had a couch where you could "reline" a while.

Sofa speaks more to relaxing or formal entertaining. When you retired for the evening with a book, tea, and some cookies.....yea :!: COOKIES :grin: you would most likely do it in the 'living room' and on the 'sofa".

Unless it was at my house in 1960. :oops: :shock: :roll:

There were plastic slip covers, clear plastic, like the kind that holds your bank passbook or passport, on the sofa and chairs. You were not allowed to even enter the room, to say nothing about actually sitting on the furniture. Such was poverty. You had something nice you did not use it for fear of wearing it out. Only special occasions and only for company. No kids allowed. Even later when I was done with school. Still not allowed to sit on the "sofa". And lacking a 'sitting room' one was relegated to the dinning or kitchen table.

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