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THONET, Michael

* 2. 7. 1796, Boppard, Germany
† 3. 3. 1871, Vienna, Austria

Inventor (wood bending process), entrepreneur

As the son of master tanner, T. soon learnt carpentry trade and in 1819 set himself up as an independent cabinetmaker. His first attempts to make furniture out of glued and bent wooden slats took place in 1830. In 1841 he caught the attention of Fürst Metternich, who had just visited the family estate near Johannisberg in the Rhine, and who after the Koblenz trade fair invited T. to Vienna. In 1842 he moved to Vienna and was on 16th July 1842 awarded the privilege of the implementation of the procedure where type of solid wood can be bent in any shape and curve with a use of chemical-mechanical means. T. first worked in the company, which produced only low-priced curved wood furniture and later joined the Carl Leistler establishment, which in addition to producing flooring material also dealt with the production of curved wood chairs, which were decorated with statues.
In 1849 T. together with his two sons Franz and Josef founded an establishment of his own in Vienna. At the 1851 World’s Fair in London he received an award and thus his products became internationally known. He then started to export, which in 1854 already accounted for one third of total income. On his own behalf and behalf of his sons Franz, Michael, August, Josef and Jacob he was on 28th July 1852 granted the further privilege to invent the process by which the wood could be set in random bendings and shapes with cutting and regluing. In 1852 he opened the first store and the following year hired Mollardmühle, in order to gain more space for his workshops. In November 1853 the company entered in the commercial register as the Thonet brothers. He appointed his sons the owners, but himself remained the executive of the company.
As the basis for further enlargement of his business T. in 1856/57 opened up a new factory in Koryčany, Moravia, in order to be able to deliver the wood directly to the factory. Because during the export the glued parts often came off in wet climates, T. began to manufacture all parts of the furniture from solid wood. These products became well-known overseas under the name Vienna bentwood chairs.
On 8th of January, 1860, T. received a new Austrian privilege for the manufacture of wheel hubs for heavy draught carts held together by a plate that was attached in front. This invention was applied mainly in the manufacture of wheels for guns.
In 1860 in Bistrica in Hostein, a few kilometrs away from Koritschan the second factory was built and in 1865 the third in Velika Ugrócza, Hungary.
In 1862 T. presented his products with great success at a World’s fair in London. At that time he already had a branch in Hamburg, Paris and London and the annual production of 700,000 chairs, about two-thirds of which he exported. Internationally active furniture concern had about 10,000 employees around 1900 and has been operating till today.

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Izdelava spletnih strani:  Positiva