It appears that operator chairs are a kind of office chair, but I have not been able to find an explanation describing exactly what distinguishes an "operator" chair from any other kind.

  • 1
    More context please... Where did you see it?
    – BiscuitBoy
    Feb 17, 2016 at 13:45
  • @BiscuitBoy In a shop selling furniture. If you google "operator chair", it seems to be a common category.
    – Benubird
    Feb 17, 2016 at 14:13
  • A random hunch - Could it be a "{computer} operator chair"? Or perhaps a {store} operator chair? Because the images seem to suggest that these are kinds of chairs you'd find in an IT office or inside the rooms of company heads.
    – BiscuitBoy
    Feb 17, 2016 at 14:22
  • I'm guessing it goes back to the early days of telephones, when rows upon rows of telephone operators sat in the same place all day long, and would have needed comfortable chairs. Feb 17, 2016 at 14:29
  • Pictures would help, of "operator chair" and those of any other kind.
    – Andrew Leach
    Feb 17, 2016 at 15:04

1 Answer 1


Regarding telephone operator chairs, these women were packed very close together in rows. The chairs had to swivel in order for them to get in and out past one another. How do I know? I just asked my mom who is eating breakfast beside me, and was an operator from '48 to '55. They had a back but no armrests.

  • It appears to be primarily a UK term. I don't think I've seen it in the U.S. or Canada. Feb 17, 2016 at 16:03

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