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Thonet

furnishing manufacturer (1819)

Michael Thonet, a German, the inventor of the process of production and design models, bentwood furniture, although some cabinet makers before him had tried to build furniture with the same procedure.

The production of bentwood furniture represents an early example of industrial production, the production Contina even today, although in a different and diverse.

The Thonet furniture are born through a long and grueling succession of tests, trials and errors.

Forging solid wood and give harmonious forms and articulated was not an ambition recently, in the first experiments, Thonet, using strips of veneer, and only after years of trying, a few successes and problems moltii, has the idea of ​​producing its furniture using strips of wood tied together.These were made to soften in hot glue and, when recovered from the bathroom, the workers were quickly folded and put into forms of iron to dry.
Once the desired shape, you assemble the various pieces of chairs and other furnishings: the famous chair No. 14 consisted of six different pieces, which were united and fixed by screws.

The more complex models, like the chairs n.22, often went to breakage, bending at the points where he most violently changed the original shape of the wood.

Thonet and moved with his family to Vienna, where in 1849 he founded the first factory enjoying huge success.

Present at World's Fairs, Thonet get the reputation that serves to guarantee him a large-scale manufacture. In London in 1851 its production receives a bronze medal and creates the opportunity to establish valuable relationships for export opportunities.

The furniture Thonet began to appear on the pages of catalogs (including 25 models in 1859, 114 in 1884 and with 1400 in 1915) identified by a simple number, and all originated from a single rod of beech, and changed into long curved horns , curls, spirals and loops.

The production enjoyed the approbation of Prince Metternich and the Emperor himself: it is successful.

Although initially protected by regular privileges, at the expiration of Thonet was surrounded by a lot of entrepreneurs willing to produce bentwood furniture; begins the period of competition nowadays known as Kohn and Fischel, Companies that, to keep up with the Gebruder Thonet calls for huge investments in skilled labor, machinery, tools and wood.

Thonet opened several factories and is oriented towards mass production.

Models produced by competitors, at least initially, an exact copy of Thonet models and this necessitates the use of trademarks imprinted on fire in the wood and paper labels attesting to the authenticity of the product (the experts have dated different labels and are therefore able to determine the period of production of chairs apparently identical but with different brands or labels).

At the beginning of the twentieth century it began a long and fruitful collaboration between different companies and leading architects and designers, collaboration that will give new fortunately bent-wood furniture, the same names such as Josef Hoffmann, Kammerer, Siegel, Kolo Moser designed and produced pieces considered still milestones in the history of design.

Hotels, theaters, cafes, places of social and cultural meetings were soon furnished with widely differing patterns of bentwood furniture, taste change and with this furniture's shape.