Happy Birthday, Thonet.

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A daredevil puts on a show in Thonet's classic chair.

This week we celebrate Michael Thonet, who was born on July 2, 1796. The inventor of one of the most important innovations in bent wood furniture making, 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 and scrolled arms for sofas. This process eliminated the need for expensive and time-consuming hand-carved joints, and Thonet’s iconic 1859 chair has been in production for more than 150 years. 

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The Era Collection, by Michael Thonet

"Never before was something more elegant and better in its conception, more precise in its realization and more fit for practical use created," said Le Corbusier, who asked for Michael Thonet's chairs in this buildings. 

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Pablo Picasso in a Michael Thonet bentwood rocker.

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Durability testing, circa 1920.