Thonet company has been around since 1819 in Boppard on the Rhine, Germany. It is known all over the world for bending solid beech wood.
This made it possible for its designer, Michael Thonet, to start making the “chair no. 14,” also known as the “Viennese coffee chair,” in 1859.
It was the first chair to be made in a factory. Thonet is known for making high-quality, stylish, and innovative furniture. AITIM magazine number 291 and www.thonet.de are where you can find the source and photos.
At the end of 2010, Thonet asked Andy Martin, an architect, and designer from London, to make a bike based on how Thonet bent beech wood in the 1930s to make his furniture.
Martin showed three prototypes in 2012. The one in the photos was chosen because it was the most beautiful, the easiest to make, and the best fit for the systems mentioned above.
Bentwood Thonet Bicycle Structure
All joints and joints are made of titanium and are made specially. The wheels have three spokes and are made of carbon fiber. The axles are built into the wheels.
Like most bicycles, the Thonet has a frame and a front part connected by a joint.
The frame is an unbalanced rectangle with a protrusion that supports the front part, which comprises the handlebar, fork, and front wheel. For its part, the saddle is attached to the frame with metal bars at the top, opposite the handlebar.
The frame splits in the area of the back wheel to make the fork that holds the axis of the back wheel and then comes back together in the lower horizontal part where the pedal disc is.
In the bike part tilted next to the front wheel, the frame curves in the same direction as the wheel’s arc and then rises to meet the front part.
This is done by leaving the frame in the middle of the two fork pieces and connecting the three profiles with a fitting.
The frame’s edges are rounded to ensure that the beech profile stays the same. Continuity is broken only at the two ends of the bifurcation (where it opens and where it closes) and is fixed with a micro-serrated joint.
In every case, it is a solid piece of beech wood with a round cross-section. They are bent with steam on a special mold, which makes a low-tech manufacturing system that fits the company’s needs.
In the making of it, a solid piece of beech wood with a round cross-section was steam-bent.
The bike has a fixed gear but different drive links that can be switched out. It doesn’t stop. The saddle is also made of wood, with two damping rods holding it in place. About US$ 70,000 is how much it costs.
There are only so many of them. Although it is merely for show and is only accessible to the wealthy, it offers some intriguing architectural possibilities.
Thonet, a pioneer in the history of furniture
Michael Thonet came up with a new way to bend solid wood in the 1850s. This was the first time that furniture could be made in large quantities. This was also helped by a new, simple look and a price that wasn’t too high.
The result was a revolution in how people decorated their homes, restaurants, and cafes. All of a sudden, the houses, restaurants, and cafes looked different and were less crowded.
Michael Thonet, a master carpenter, was the first to do good work for the Thonet company (1796-1871). Since 1819, when he opened his first workshop in Boppard on the Rhine, Germany, Thonet has been linked to high-quality, stylish, and innovative bentwood furniture.
Today, Thorsten Muck runs this company based in Frankenberg/Eder and makes things there (Germany). Michael Thonet’s fifth and sixth-generation descendants are now business partners and representatives for the company.
The collection has well-known bentwood furniture, classic tubular steel pieces from the Bauhaus era, and new designs by well-known architects and designers from today.
A new material with a modernist spirit: tubular steel furniture from Thonet
The steel tube is the second most important thing in the Thonet program. In the 1930s, the company was the biggest in the world at making steel tube furniture, which was new then.
Famous architects like Mart Stam, Marcel Breuer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Charlotte Pérriand, or A Guyot were some of the people who designed the furniture.
Today, the first furniture made from tubular steel is an important moment in design history. Its clear, open, and simple shapes showed a new way of thinking in everyday life and architecture. This new way of thinking was called “new objectivity.”
The cantilever chair, which doesn’t have legs in the back, was the most important “invention” of the time.
In 1925, Marcel Breuer started experimenting with cold-bent steel tubing at the Bauhaus. This made it possible for the chair to rock back and forth.
In 1926, the Dutch architect Mart Stam designed the cantilever chair.
The Deutscher Werkbund exhibition “Die Wohnung” (the house) in Stuttgart’s Weißenhof housing complex in 1927 was very important for the success of tubular steel. It was the first time tubular steel furniture was shown to the public.
By architects like Mart Stam, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and others, the exhibition had a big effect around the world.
But people were initially skeptical of furniture made with such an innovative material. At the end of the 1920s, Thonet got a new way to make things, and tubular steel furniture was made in the Frankenberg/Eder factory.
Thanks to Thonet’s efforts, the idea of a steel tube finally took on a whole new meaning and spread. As the company that made the first light and inexpensive bentwood furniture, Thonet was not only well-known and liked by the avant-garde like:
- Adolf Loos
- Josef Hoffman or Le Corbusier
but also participated in the developing construction of social housing.
Thonet’s product portfolio currently includes many successful classic models, such as:
- The first S 33 and S 43 cantilever chairs from Mart Stam
- The models S 32, S 64, and the S 35 cantilever armchair by Marcel Breuer
- The S 533 by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
The Martin-designed bike is a limited edition and costs around $70,000.
As a result of World War II, the factories that Thonet had in the Eastern countries were taken over, and the sales office in St. Stephen’s Square in Vienna was also destroyed.
Between 1945 and 1953, Georg Thonet, the great-grandson of the company’s founder Michael Thonet, rebuilt the factory in Frankenberg/Eder, which had been destroyed.
Financial success came back quickly, and Thonet also tried to work with top designers. A long list of famous designers who have worked for Thonet in the last 60 years includes:
- Egon Eiermann
- Verner Panton
- Eddie Harlis
- Hanno von Gustedt
- Rudolf Glatzel
- Pierre Paulin
- Gerd Lange
- Hartmut Lohmeyer
- Ulrich Böhme and Wulf Schneider
- Alfredo Häberli
- Christophe Marchand
- Lord Norman Foster
- Delphin Design, Glen Oliver Löw
- James Irvine
- Piero Lissoni
- Stefan Diez
- Lievore Altherr Molina
- Lepper Schmidt Sommerlade
- Hadi Teherani
- Läufer + Keichel
Thonet and culture: The Thonet museum
The Thonet museum is at the company’s headquarters in Frankenberg (Germany). It was made possible by Georg Thonet’s love of collecting.
As the great-grandson of the company’s founder, Michael Thonet, he put together a valuable collection of historical items that he shared with the public when the museum opened in 1989.
Antique bentwood furniture, Art Nouveau furniture, tubular steel furniture from the Bauhaus era, and post-war furniture are all displayed on more than 700 square meters of space.