The Thonet Chair
Michael Thonet, a German cabinetmaker, designed the No. 14 chair at a time when both design aesthetics and the role of the bistro were evolving.
What made Thonet’s design revolutionary was his newly discovered wood-bending technique, which required steaming solid wood pieces for many hours and reinforcing the curved shape with cast iron molds.
Thonet’s technique reduced the No.14’s parts to six pieces of wood, ten screws and two bolts, standardizing its shape and decreasing time and cost of production.
Simple assemblage allowed the chair to be shipped
as individual parts, making the No. 14 chair the first flat-pack chair in history.
With ease of shipment, 50 million No.14 chairs were sold to bistros around the world between 1890 and 1930 alone.