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Michael Thonet

Michael Thonet (1796 - 1871)German businessman Michael Thonet was born on 2nd July, 1796 in a town Boppard close to Koblenz.

Following a carpenter´s apprenticeship he established a furniture workshop in his home town, where he produced furniture.

In the thirties of the 19th century he began to experiment with wood bending, which he took an advantage of in his profession later.

For the first time he presented the bentwood furniture to public at the trade show in Koblenz in 1841, which Austrian chancellor Metternich also attended. On his recommendation Thonet moved to Vienna the following year, where he set off his own furniture company.

With his wife Anna Maria he had 13 children altogether; however only 5 sons survived childhood. In 1853 he transferred the business to them and renamed the company to „Gebrüder Thonet“.

As the popularity of bentwood furniture kept growing, in 1856 Thonet decided to build a new factory. Due to favourable conditions he chose Korycany, Moravia where he moved to for some time subsequently. The factory started its operation in 1857 and thanks to a big success the company built two more plants in Bystrice pod Hostynem and Vsetin soon.

Thonet´s bentwood furniture became a household name soon and German businessman was awarded a number of medals for its production; The Golden Order of Merit or The Franc Joseph Knighthood Cross among others. He was treated as a reputable furniture manufacturer in the autumn of his life. He died 3rd March, 1871 in Vienna and control of the company was taken over by his sons.

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