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Thonet Seating & Chairs

Bentwood will forever be associated with Thonet furniture. With 150 years of wood making under their belt, it's not easy for us to associate bending wood techniques & the famed Thonet rocking chair with anyone else. Founder Micheal lost his patents for bentwood furniture in the 1880s; there were dozens if not hundreds of companies worldwide using the same wood techniques; this household name withstood the competition and today remains as strong and remarkable as ever. Nothing is left to chance during the innovative bending technique; planned meticulously, each element intrinsically detailed, broken down into a series of individual tasks - men did the steaming and bending, women the less arduous sanding, finishing, and caning. Michael Thorny is the man behind the "bentwood" furniture legacy. In 1830 experiments began, and the industrial production of the 'chair of chairs,' No. 14 Thonet chair, debuted. No. 14, aka the bistro chair, has seated more people than an entire football stadium. European-cafés and bistros doted on the smooth, solid wood stained frames and the straw-coloured cane. The chairs from the family empire, Michael Jr., August, Josef, and Jakob, were revolutionary. The sleek curves helped to reshape furniture design. A line of classic furniture for long summer evenings or a planned meeting at a hotel, a piece of history can be found wherever people meet and swap ideas. A part of every design aficionados dream, grab yourself a rocking chair or a tubular steel armchair from our old age collection.

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About Michael Thonet FurnitureMichael Thonet, the pioneer of bentwood furniture, the famed Thonet rocking Chair, and fine woodworking, began his legacy from a small workshop in Boppard am Rhein, Germany, in 1819. The sturdiness, structure, and beauty of Thonet furniture and chairs have endured the test of time. Thonet worked independently as a cabinet maker following a carpenter's apprenticeship. In the 1830s, he began his furniture experiments with veneer strips cooked in glue to make bent wooden pieces. His successful attempt at the first object was the legendary Boppard Thonet chair. Prince Richard Metternich took notice of the novelty bent wood Thonet chair and furniture and invited Michael to join him at his Vienna Palace. The Prince already had ideas to promote Austria Industrialism, and over the next five years, he worked on the Neorococo interiors inside the Palace. Numerous attempts to patent his newfound bending wood experiment had already failed across Europe and Russia. Germany, Great Britain, and France refused his petition. His breakthrough to success with the solid wood bent into curved, graceful shapes arrived when an Austrian court granted him the rights to design his elegant novelties. The Thonet's were now ready for mass production. In 1857 they built a new factory in Koritschan in the Moravian forests and started to produce bounds of Thonet rocking chairs and renowned furniture pieces, Protected by his patent, it was the only manufacturer legally allowed to produce and bring bentwood furniture to the market. His work struck the international spotlight, attending fairs, exhibitions and opening various branches, and before long, his acclaimed bistro Thonet chair made an appearance in almost every coffee shop across Vienna. The novel, elegant, lightweight, and durable Thonet chair No. 14 marked an era in the Mid-Century Modern movement with its aesthetic and functional appeal. In the 1980s, the company was divided into a German, and an Austrian company, Thonet Vienna and Gebrüder Thonet became Thonet GmbH, headquartered in Frankenberg; both companies remain independent of each other. Thonet sons Michael, Josef, August, Franz, Jakob have all held key positions in the family firm and ensured its continued success after his passing. Manufacturing original, bentwood, and tubular steel furniture alongside new works by contemporary, international architects and designers, Thonet still stands for high-quality, innovative, and elegant furnishings. A line of classic Thonet furniture awaits you; discover the collection online today.FAQsWhere are Thonet chairs made?Today, Thonet chairs are produced in Frankenberg, Germany. The manufacture of Thonet chairs is now overseen by Thorsten Muck.What are Thonet chairs made of?The bentwood nature of Thonet chairs requires the use of malleable wood. Light, resilient wood is bent using hot steam to increase the flexibility of the solid wood pieces. With just six pieces of wood and a couple of fixings, Thonet's iconic bentwood chairs could be made on a mass scale.How to identify a Thonet chair?With many reproductions on the market, it can be challenging to source a genuine piece. Look out for:Stamps: Embossed under the seat frame should be a stamped mark. These are present in early examples. Later examples have paper labels as a means of identification.Braces: These optional arm frames should sit flush with the seat. Reproductions or forgeries don't and look more clumsy.Are Thonet chairs valuable?Thonet chairs are rapidly increasing in value. To maximise value, source chairs that come as part of a set rather than as individual pieces.At Vinterior, we've handpicked the finest genuine pieces from trusted sellers across the U.K. and Europe, so you can shop with confidence.


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