09 December 2015

The History of Thonet GmbH – How Tradition Makes Innovation

The history of the German company Thonet is an adventure started two hundred years ago, and still fascinates. Everyone knows the renown chair made of bended wood and designed by Michael Thonet in 1859. Together with the invention of the bending technique of the wood, the carpenter Michael Thonet became a pioneer of the history of furniture.

In a short time the company got big, managing to have seven factories at the end of the XIX century. In 1889 the last factory was founded in Frankenberg, and that is the only one still producing furniture both with bended wood and steel tubular. In fact, while the XIX century distinguished the company for the success of the bended wood, the XX century lead to a new direction – the use of the stainless steel tubular, thanks to the contribution of the famous Bauhaus architects. For the second time, the Thonet company managed to manufacture an innovative product, which became a mile stone in the history of modern design: the slide chair.


After the WWII, the heritage of the Thonet family, together with their factories, got destroyed or dispossessed. The only factory left was the one in Frankenberg, which was re-built by the engineer Georg Thonet with a lot of patient and spirit of tradition, today Thonet GmbH.


Today the Frankenberg factory is the oldest productive location which survived from the intricated history of the company. Known from 2006 with the name “Thonet GmbH”, today it is managed by the CEO Thorsten Muck in strict collaboration with the discendants of fifth and sixth generation of Michael Thonet. The tradition is then the real base for the success of the Thonet company, a thing that deserves a particular appreciation nowadays.

Here in the images you can see the company’s latest products, only from these beautiful pictures we can get all the great history behind each piece.