The Amish Cook from Oasis Newsfeatures

Couch, Sofa, Davenport?

I had a nice chat on the air today with Tom Berryman on KDTH in Dubuque, Iowa. Dubuque is probably one of the few cities in Iowa that I haven't been to, but I suspect it's a bit like most small midwestern cities, except that it has a nice view of the Mississippi River.  It's probably a bit like the Quad Cities, downriver from them.  Trivia question:  can you name all four of the cities making up the Quad Cities.  Hint: one of them is Davenport, Iowa (I'll post the other names at the end of this posting).  That got me thinking....For most of my life I've called the big piece of furniture found in most people's living rooms a "couch."   Lately, though, I've preferred the term "sofa."  Couch sounds too much like crouch or grouch, sofa sounds classier.  I'm perplexed, though, by a term my Aunt uses for a soft/couch.  She calls it a "davenport."  I've never heard anyone else use the term before.  Was there a brand of sofas once named for Davenport, Iowa?  Or does the name have no connection to the city?  Has anyone else heard the term davenport being used for sofa or couch?   Which, by the way, comes in many different versions.  My mother-in-law's sofa is probably my favorite: a huge overstuffed sofa with tons of massive pillows.  It's much more conducive for a nice nap than our minimalist wood-frame sofa purchased at IKEA.....And I'm definitely not a fan of leather sofas, there's nothing worse than having to peel yourself off the couch on a hot summer day.  Okay, drum roll.... the other three cities in the Quads...Bettendorf, Iowa; Rock Island, Illinois, and Moline, Illinois....Along with Davenport, Iowa, these are the Quad Cities.....

Re: Couch, Sofa, Davenport?

Okay, I am late on this one... but I hear a lot of older people refer to a couch as a "davenport".  Growing up, we referred to it as a "divan" which may be a shorted version of the former.  Now, I just call it a couch or a "luv" seat, depending on the size.

As far as geography is concerned, I am useless!  LOL  I have been to the Quad Cities before, and I often hear about Bettendorf because that is where our Bishop is from and I think it is where the monastery is.

Re: Couch, Sofa, Davenport?

That's funny!  You should take the girls to John Deere Pavilion and Collector's Center in Moline some time. they would love all the tractors!!  In May Longaberger usually has an "on the road" event there also, that would be fun for you!!

Re: Couch, Sofa, Davenport?

You (and BK) are probably going to faint, but I have NEVER even looked at a Longaberger catalog!  Never had the chance to even.  I have seen them at garage sales, etc. for hefty prices, and they are really beautiful.  My MIL's friend has a lot of them, and has this metal tree-like thing that has a bunch hanging off of it.  I was so scared my girls were going to break one...ouch!

Re: Couch, Sofa, Davenport?

Klunk! That was me falling off my chair!!!  I will tell you that if my baskets have all survived my children, I can nearly say that they are indestructable!  I have a square basket, called a cake basket- which I have the wooden lid for- I did find my little ones as toddlers standing on it and sitting on it.  You would love the pottery bakeware, it is amazing stuff, a little pricey but not to bad considering how long it lasts, you basically buy a piece for a lifetime!  Go check out the website at longaberger.com; you can find a consultant in your area. You can shop online even! The event at John Deere is cool because they bring the make a basket stuff, for you to make your own.  The friend's things you are referring to are probably from the Collector's Club; I'm more about function.  Oh and it's wrought iron, not just metal (ha ha).     

Re: Couch, Sofa, Davenport?

OK KJuneBug I am going to make you faint but there is something that can destroy them: two lab puppies!!! I have them all over the house including the family room.  While house training them they chewed up THREE of my baskets!!! Wanted to kill them both, my sons offered to replace them but what they didn't understand was they were discontiue booking baskets.  Instead, they chipped in and bought me the extra large mixing bowl.  Looking back in hind site, it was my own fault.  The baskets they chewed up were ones that at one time or another held candy in them.  They never chewed on the larger baskets(ie laundry, spring) that are in the same room.  So now I keep candy in the crocks instead.

Re: Couch, Sofa, Davenport?

Oh, BK we haven't had any pets! I could see curious puppies doing just as you say.  I'll bet you love your extra large mixing bowl though, I know I love mine!  That would be a challenge to chew up a crock!  I'll have to remember to issue pet warnings at my shows!!

paulaayn's picture

Re: Couch, Sofa, Davenport?

We don't have a couch, sofa or davenport.  We have a chesterfield!  And at my grandma's house (born 1912) the ottoman sat in front for feet  :) 

Re: Couch, Sofa, Davenport?

My mom used to call it a "Chesterfield", which I see no one has mentioned.  There is a town in England called Chesterfield, so I have the same question as Davenport.  Did they come from there?

Re: Couch, Sofa, Davenport?

I live in Indiana and have heard the term davenport all my life. My grandmother even referred to her couch as a "davenette", although I've never heard that from anyone else.

We have a "couch". I've never gotten used to referring to that piece of furnniture as a "sofa":)

Re: Couch, Sofa, Davenport?

My grandma said davenport, and we're from NW PA! We have a family in our small town named Davenport-I went to school with one of them(not a couch!) , and her brother now works at the hardware store. When I was young, I always wondered why grandma called her couch after a girl at school!!! She never did answer that one!

Re: Couch, Sofa, Davenport?

My MIL has always called the couch a davenport. She is 92 and the only one I've ever heard refer to it as such. And, yes, she is from Ohio as well, so maybe there is something to that, as BK said!

Re: Couch, Sofa, Davenport?

in my house it has always been a sofa, at my mom and dads it was always a couch, and my grandparents always referred to it as a davenport, maybe it changes with the generation, lol???

lorraine stoddard's picture

Re: Couch, Sofa, Davenport?

I posted the 4 cities before reading the rest of your article.  Kevin,I didn't expect you to give the answer right away.  Sorry about that.Embarassed

lorraine stoddard's picture

Re: Couch, Sofa, Davenport?

The Quad city's are: Rock Island,Moline,Davenport and Bendorff.

Re: Couch, Sofa, Davenport?

Name the four Quad Cities, a good trivia question, I always stump Rachel with it....Smile

Re: Couch, Sofa, Davenport?

Mom called it a davenport.  I call it a couch.

eggcetra_farms's picture

Re: Couch, Sofa, Davenport?

I've only heard of sofa or couch.  I guess those others are "Yankee" terms LOL.

Re: Couch, Sofa, Davenport?

We camped one night in Davenport, Iowa, so that we could cross the bridge and go to John Deere Pavilion in Moline, IL the next morning.  My daughter went to DeWitt, IA this summer, they got lost on the way and was close to Dubuque, the areas are much different.  The "Quad" Cities are actually pretty big urban area; just guessing that Dubuque is a much smaller town, probably more farms.

We call ours a couch,  I've heard all the names mentioned.  It's more of a place to crash and nap though!!  

Sounds like we need "Luv" Mrs. Iowa to chime in on this one!!!  Kevin, always check wikipedia!!! 

Re: Couch, Sofa, Davenport?

Yes, I've heard it referred to as a davenport - but growing up in Oklahoma we called ours a divan.  I moved to Missouri and found that no one called it that - it was a sofa or couch.  I usually say sofa but when my kids were younger - they couldn't say sofa - it came out as "fofa" - so - in our family a lot of times we will still call it a fofa !   :) 

dcharrison's picture

Re: Couch, Sofa, Davenport?

I have heard it before, but only from older relatives.

Re: Couch, Sofa, Davenport?

My mother's relatives always called it a davenport.  They were from Ohio so I always thought it was an Ohioan thing?

Re: Couch, Sofa, Davenport?

Yes it was a company once. short article:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davenport_(sofa) it also mentions divan which I have also heard before.

Re: Couch, Sofa, Davenport?

Geez, well, that didn't take long...thanks for the info.  The info says the "younger generation" uses the term "davenport" for a more formal sofa....hmmmm, the only one I have ever heard use that term before was my Aunt.....If I said "davenport" to one of my friends they'd probably think I mean Iowa or I was just nuts...