It is not clear when the first Windsor Chairs were made. It is known that, as early as the 16th century, wheelwrights started coping out chair spindles in the same way they made wheel spokes. The design was probably a development of West County, Welsh and Irish 'stick-back' chairs, but the evidence on origin is not certain. It is thought that the first Windsor chair made its appearance in the county of Buckinghamshire, where the main centre of production eventually moved to High Wycombe. The first Windsors were of the comb-back variety. By the 18th century steam-bending was being used to produce the characteristic "bow" of the Windsor chair. The first chairs made this way were shipped to London from the market town of Windsor, Berkshire in 1724.There is speculation that the chair derives its name from the town of Windsor, which became the centre for the trade between the producers and the London dealers.Thus the name "Windsor Chair" is more about the style of chair than where it was made, with many diverse forms of Windsor chair being made worldwide.
Traditionally there were three types of craftsmen involved in the construction of a Windsor chair, there was the Chair bodger, an itinerant craftsman who worked in the woods and made just the legs and stretchers, on a pole lathe, for the Windsor chair. Then there was the benchman who worked in a small town or village workshop and would produce the seats, backsplats and other sawn parts. The final craftsman involved was the framer. The framer would take the components produced by the bodger and the benchman and would assemble and finish the chair.
English settlers introduced the Windsor chair to America, with the earliest known chairs being imported by Patrick Gordon who became lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania in 1726. There is speculation that the first American Windsor chair, based on the traditional British design, was made in Philadelphia in 1730.