Architecture Around the World...................llustrated FURNITURE Glossary............ Art Nouveau

Michael Thonet chairs - Mus閑 d'Orsay
Paris, France
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Art Nouveau style

Michael Thonet (July 2, 1796, Boppard, Germany - March 3, 1871, Vienna, Austria-Hungary) was a German furniture maker and industrialist best known as the inventor of bentwood furniture and as a pioneer of furniture design.

Thonet patented a process of bending under heat several layers of wood veneer glued together and laminated -- and used the new material to create curved back-rails and legs on chairs, contoured headboards for beds and scrolled arms for sofas.

By 1900, the curvilinear furniture made possible by Thonet's techniques were widely produced by furniture manufacturers in the U.S., where the process was exploited.

A forerunner of bentwood furniture was the Windsor chair that also involved bending steamed wood. A difference, however, is that Thonet used steamed laminates.


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Photos and their arrangement ?2006 Chuck LaChiusa
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