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Michael Thonet

Michael Thonet

Designer

With the invention of bentwood furniture, Michael Thonet laid the cornerstone of industrial production. He was born in 1796 in Boppard/Rhine, where he opened his own workshop in 1819. In 1842 Prince Metternich summoned him to Vienna. Together with his sons he founded a company in 1849; within a short amount of time it became globally successful and expanded rapidly.  More than 865,000 bentwood chairs per year were produced in today's Czech Republic, Hungary, and Russia. Michael Thonet died in Vienna in 1871; his sons then took over the company. During the 1930s, Thonet was committed to the construction of tubular steel furniture and quickly became the largest manufacturer in the world. World War II represented a harsh caesura: the plants in the eastern regions were closed. The facility in Frankenberg in Germany, founded in 1889, has been the corporate headquarter since then. Thonet is still a family-owned business and is managed today by the 5th generation.