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Chair

  • Place of origin:

    Vienna (designed)

  • Date:

    1887 - 1900 (manufactured)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Thonet (designer)
    Thonet (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Steam-bent, solid beechwood frame, solid beechwood and caned seat, metal and wood fittings. All wooden parts stained

  • Museum number:

    W.10:1 to 8-2012

  • Gallery location:

    Furniture, Room 135, The Dr Susan Weber Gallery, case BY9, shelf WALL []

The furniture made by Thonet Brothers (the firm named in 1853 for the sons of the firm’s founder, Michael Thonet), was the first to have been both mass produced and shipped knocked-down. The design of Thonet furniture directly reflected its ‘production line’ manufacturing process, with the making of each element broken down into a series of individual tasks. The firm’s key design principle was to manufacture as many chair models from as few different parts as possible. These parts were then packed in boxes, for ease of shipping, and assembled by Thonet shops or distributors rather than consumers. The method of shipping meant that prices could be kept lower than that of furniture shipped fully assembled. This particular model was Thonet’s most popular between the 1860s and the 1930s, with some 50 million said to have been manufactured during that period. Manufacture continues today.

Physical description

Chair, model no. 14, designed and manufactured by Thonet Brothers (Gebrüder Thonet)

Place of Origin

Vienna (designed)

Date

1887 - 1900 (manufactured)

Artist/maker

Thonet (designer)
Thonet (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Steam-bent, solid beechwood frame, solid beechwood and caned seat, metal and wood fittings. All wooden parts stained

Descriptive line

Chair, model no. 14, designed and manufactured by Thonet Brothers (Gebrüder Thonet), Vienna, ca. 1887 - 1900

Labels and date

Chair, model no. 14
1859
Designed and manufactured by Thonet Brothers (Gebrüder Thonet)

Designed in Austria (Vienna)
Manufactured about 1887–1900, factory unknown
Frame: steam-bent, solid beechwood
Seat: solid beechwood, caned
Fittings: metal and wood
All wooden parts stained

Museum no. W.10-2012

Thonet’s designs were early examples of ‘knock-down’ furniture. Packed in compact, one-metre square crates, each containing 36 chairs, they could be shipped to showrooms, distributors or shops and assembled on arrival. No 19th-century firm sold as many chairs to as many countries, including Africa, Asia and the Americas, or had as many branch offices as Thonet.
[01/12/2012]

Materials

Beech wood; Cane; Metal; Wood; Material

Techniques

Steam-bending; Technique

Categories

Furniture

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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