The ottoman was brought to Europe from the Ottoman Empire in the late 18th century. The word ottomane to refer to furniture appeared at least as early as 1729 in French. The first known recorded use in English occurs in one of Thomas Jefferson’s memorandum books from 1789: “P[ai]d. for an Ottomane of velours d’Utrecht.” In Turkey, an ottoman was the central piece of family seating and was piled with cushions. In Europe, the ottoman was first designed as a piece of fitted furniture that wrapped around three walls of a room. The ottoman evolved into a smaller version that fit into the corner of a room.
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