Incredible History behind the Thonet Rocker

Incredible History behind the Thonet Rocker

Michael Thonet, a German cabinetmaker living in Austria, invented a process that revolutionized furniture making. He used this process in the mid-1860s to craft the bentwood rocker. Thonet’s patent consisted of bending solid wood by steaming it and then clamping a thin strip of steel along one side. The process eliminated complex jointing and carving. The simple process allowed Thonet to hire local people rather than expensive artisans for his European factories. Many years before the Industrial Revolution had any impact on the rest of the furniture industry, Thonet’s chairs, hat stands, and other pieces were being mass-produced. By 1870 Thonet’s company was making about 1,300 pieces of furniture a day. In other words, with a six-day workweek, his factory produced 400,000 pieces annually-an early triumph in mass production.  



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