In the late 18th century, the Ottomans were first imported into Europe from Turkey (the center of the Ottoman Empire, thus the name). They were originally piled with cushions and served as the principal piece of sitting in the home. They were typically a cushioned, upholstered seat or bench without arms or a back. In time, the term came to describe any similar piece of furniture.
As for why these particular ones are called ottomans? That's a bit harder to say. One theory is that it originated with a French merchant who traveled with the Ottoman army and took his name, Ottomane, for their custom of sealing treaties with the laying of hands on an ottoman - an ancient symbol of authority. Another theory suggests that the name comes from the Turkish word otmağa, meaning "with legs." This refers to the fact that early ottomans had no backs or arms so could be used as tables when not being sat on.
These days, an ottoman is defined as a low, soft stool designed for seating one person. It has no back or arms and is usually made of leather or other soft materials. These are commonly found in living rooms as a place to sit while watching television or reading. Ottomans were once used as a more formal seating option in homes, but they are now most often seen in antique stores or junk shops.
The name "ottoman" is derived from the Ottoman Empire, a dominating entity established in the thirteenth century. Ottoman furniture, including wooden chests, footstools, and beds, developed in what is now Turkey. The empire's influence can be seen in its design elements: heavy carved wood frames, geometric carvings, and ivory inlays.
The large four-post bed with flat headboards and footboards that dominated European bedroom designs for many years was known as the "Tulip" or "Wassail" bed because it was first manufactured around 1630 by Guillaume Le Testu for sale in Amsterdam. This popular bed style was so named because it looked like a half-filled basket of tulips. Later variations of the bed were called "Lilac" and "Rosette" bedsteads.
In 1770, the Ottomans abandoned their campaign against Europe, after which time foreign manufacturers began to produce imitation Turkish products under license. Thus the term "Ottoman" came to mean "of good quality," since only foreign manufacturers could afford to import these expensive items at that time. These counterfeit goods were often of lower quality than those originally produced in Turkey, which helped to bring about the demise of the true art form there too.
An ottoman is a multipurpose piece of cushioned and upholstered household furniture that can have or not have a back. They were brought to Europe from Turkey in the 18th century. They perform a variety of tasks but were primarily intended to be used as footrests or stools. Today, ottomans are used for multiple purposes including chairs, beds, and even surfboards.
They are named after their original function as a stool for servants or employees. This is how they are described in French language manuals from the early 20th century: "A servant's place." The ottoman was already known in France as early as 1770. It was originally called an "olla podrida" (oiled bread basket) because it resembled one of these baskets used by servants in Spain and Latin America.
In England, they were first sold under the name "Turkish couch" and later just "Ottoman." An Ottoman is now any soft cushion on which to sit.
These days, they are popular accessories for every room in the house except the kitchen and bathroom. Some people use them as extra seats, others as storage units. Even children have ottomans! They're useful items for everyone to enjoy.
There are many different types of ottomans available today. Some are made of wood, some are foam, and some are a mix of both.