Difference Between a Sofa and a Davenport

While some use the words "sofa," "couch" or "davenport" interchangeably, a davenport originally meant a sofa designed by the A.H. Davenport Company. As with other brand names throughout the ages, the term "davenport" worked its way into common language during a specific time period generations back, used in place of the term "sofa" or "couch."

Modern lounge
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Modern davenport-style sofa.

Davenport Defined

By the end of the 1800s, sofa manufacture was big business. Several sofa brands became so popular that the company names became household terms, such as Chesterfield or Davenport. The A.H. Davenport Company's large upholstered couch became a signature style for the manufacturer during this time, even though it also manufactured other types of furniture. In the early 1900s, Davenport filed a patent for a sofa bed. When sofa owners started calling their large seats "davenports," the term caught on, even if A.H. Davenport did not manufacture them. The name stuck for several generations but is a fairly uncommon term for 21st-century furniture.