idesign > Keystones > Michael Thonet

Austria, 19th Century AC



Thonet furniture

Model No 14









thonet chair pic from





Thonet Furniture  

thonet catalogue pic from


thonet furniture catalogue pic from

Info source:


Michael thonet (1796-1871), german, is considered
the inventor of the process of bentwood production,
characterized by flowing forms and the resulting lightweight
michael thonet opened his furniture cabinetry workshop
in 1819 in a rural austrian town and in 1830 he experimented
with bending steamed wood to create furniture.
he founded the the austrian company 'gebrueder thonet' in 1853.
in 1856 he received a patent for the process of bentwood
manufacturing. thonet and his five sons began to produce innovative
'bentwood' furniture, which became known for being practical,
inexpensive and refined.
the thonet family had 52 assembly-line production factories in Europe
by 1900, and was the world's major manufacturer of bentwood furniture.
his patents for the process expired in 1869, and imitations still
abound.Info source:




Model No.14


thonet model no 14 chair pic from


thonet chair No 14 pic from



With the needs of a growing population, furniture has become an industrial product since the 1850ies.
The No. 14 by Michael Thonet can be considered as the first representative of this new type of furniture, beeing sold 40 million times between 1859 and 1914.
His technique was truly revolutionary: machine-formed rods of laminated wood were curved and bent under steam pressure, using strips of tin-plate to hold the stems and bend the wood beyond its natural elasticity without breaking. His forms varied from the simple to the highly decorative, setting a standard that forever changed the furniture industry. Info source:




thonet bed pic from

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shakers settee pic from www.shakerstyle.comimage source:

thonet bentwood chair pic from www.designboom.comimage source:

thonet sofa pic from source:


a book about thonet pic from source:






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