Tthe history of the famous Thonet chairs, begins with Michael Thonet, pronounced “Toe-net” (instead of  “Tho-nay”). He was the founder of a building- and furniture workshop in Boppard, Germany in 1819. His unique success story began with the transition of manual furniture production to industrial production.

From the 1830’s, Thonet tried to make furniture of bent wood. After several attempts, and lots of years  later, he finally succeeded. In 1859 he invented a way to bend strong beech wood into curved, graceful shapes using hot steam. Chair No. 14 was born, later known as the “Vienna coffee house chair”. This new invention made it possible to create elegant, lightweight, comfortable and durable furniture. Quite the rage after all the heavy carved wood designs upto then.

Lots of different designs were added to the range and innovative production- and distribution methods allowed the company to expand rapidly. Soon Thonet furniture was available globally. By 1930, Thonet’s first design, the Thonet No.14 (now known as 214) was sold over 50 million times. This design is considered the most successful industrial product in the world.

Tubular steel furniture is the second pillar of the company. From the 1930’s onwards, Thonet has produced several iconic creations from designers such as Mart Stam, Marcel Breuer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Known under the name of “New Objectivity”, famous examples are the clear, open and simple designs such as Cantilever chair S33 and the S32 and S64 designed by Marcel Breuer.

“NEVER BEFORE HAS ANYTHING BEEN CREATED THAT IS MORE ELEGANT AND BETTER IN ITS CONCEPTION, MORE PRECISE IN ITS DESIGN AND MORE FUNCTIONAL” Le Corbusier

Dde geschiedenis van de bekende Thonet stoelen begint met Michael Thonet. Hij was de oprichter van een bouw-en meubelbedrijf in Boppard, Duitsland in 1819. Zijn bijzondere succesverhaal begon met de overgang van handmatige meubel productie naar industriële productie.

Vanaf 1930 probeerde Thonet meubels te maken van gebogen hout. Na een aantal pogingen, en vele jaren later, boekte hij eindelijk succes. In 1859 was zijn uitvinding om stevig berkenhout, met behulp van hete stoom, om te vormen naar gebogen sierlijke vormen een feit. Stoel No.14, later bekend als de Weense Koffiehuis Stoel, was geboren. Deze nieuwe uitvinding maakte het mogelijk om elegante, lichtgewicht, comfortabele en duurzame meubels te maken. Het was een enorme hit na al het zware, houtbewerkte meubilair.

Vele designs werden toegevoegd aan de collectie. Innovatieve productie- en distributie methoden zorgden voor een snelle groei van het bedrijf. Al snel waren de Thonet stoelen wereldwijd verkrijgbaar. Rond 1930 was Thonet’s eerste design, de No.14 (nu bekend als de No.214), al 50 miljoen keer verkocht. Dit ontwerp staat bekend als het meest succesvolle industriële product ter wereld.

Het “stalen buis” meubilar vormt de tweede pilaar van het bedrijf. Al vanaf 1930 produceert Thonet diverse iconische ontwerpen van designers als Mart Stam, Marcel Breuer en Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Ze zijn onderdeel van de stroming “New Objectivity”. Bekende voorbeelden zijn de heldere, open en simpele ontwerpen zoals de Cantilever chair S33 and de S32 en S64 van Marcel Breuer.

“NOOIT EERDER WERD ER EEN ELEGANTER EN BETER DESIGN GECREËERD DAT ZO NAUWKEURIG VERVAARDIGD EN ZO FUNCTIONEEL IS” Le Corbusier

Thonet Chairs by VKV Visuals

Thonet Chairs via VKV Visuals

Smart packaging, 36 chairs of the classic model No.214 fitted in 1 cubic metre, to be assembled at the place of arrival. I wonder where IKEA got its idea for distribution-methods from???

Thonet Chairs by VKV Visuals

The S209 – via Coco Lapine

Thonet Chairs by VKV Visuals

Typical French bistro-interior with Thonet (high) chairs in Racine, NYC – via Est Magazine

Thonet Chairs by VKV Visuals

Thonet rocking chair on the verandah – via Bonjour 98 on Instagram

Thonet Chairs by VKV Visuals

An original Thonet Label – via Instagram

Thonet Chairs by VKV Visuals

Thonet chairs with custom leather backrests – via My Scandinavian Home

Thonet Chairs by VKV Visuals

The Wasilly chair by Marcel Breuer, 1925. It was first produced by Thonet but in 1968 US company Knoll acquired the rights. Meanwhile, patents have expired and reproductions are manufactured globally under different names.

Thonet Chairs by VKV Visuals

The Thonet S33 by Mart Stam, 1923 – via Archetypen

Thonet Chairs by VKV Visuals

The S411 armchair, designed in 1932 by the Thonet design team

Thonet Chairs by VKV Visuals

The classic S214 Thonet chair – via Coco Lapine

Thonet Chairs by VKV Visuals

Page from an old Thonet brochure

Thonet Chairs by VKV Visuals

Pablo Picasso also had a Thonet rocking chair, as seen in the back of his atelier – via CredularesAmor

Thonet Chairs by VKV Visuals

The Thonet S40, designed by Mart Stam in 1935, on the terrace – via Chairholder

Thonet Chairs by VKV Visuals

Deskchair S33 by Mart Stam, 1926 and secretaire S285 by Marcel Breuer, 1935 for Thonet – via Eckhart

Thonet Chairs by VKV Visuals

Classic Thonet 209′s, eyecatchers in this classic white interior – via Paperblog

Thonet Chairs by VKV Visuals

Beautiful Thonet 214 dining chairs in a Harlem brownstone house – via Bliss

Thonet Chairs by VKV Visuals

Another deskset, Desk S1200, a contemporary design from 2014 by Randolph Schott – via Stylepark

Thonet Chairs by VKV Visuals

A Thonet S411 armchair, designed in 1932 by the in-house Thonet design team- via Goodform

Thonet Chairs by VKV Visuals

A barely visible white rocking chair by Thonet in this hip contemporary interior – via Tumblr

Another S411,  downloaded with kind permission from the Thonet website

Another S411, with a Set B97 sidetable downloaded with kind permission from the Thonet website

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