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Highchair

Michael Thonet1880-1905

The Strong National Museum of Play

The Strong National Museum of Play

Pioneering the production of bentwood furniture in Austria in the mid-19th century, Michael Thonet developed an entire line of furniture based on his patented techniques. Bringing furniture into the era of mass-produced factory goods, Thonet used his bentwood production techniques to create a line of "furniture for mass consumption." Inexpensive, lightweight, and easily transportable, Thonet's high chair exemplified the traits that made his furniture so popular. Selling for less than $5 when first introduced in 1880, the chair is constructed of strips of curved wood with a caned seat and back.

At a time when furniture came in elaborate, ornate styles suited to Victorian sensibilities, Thonet dispensed with decorative fashions and created furniture designs suited to the new factory production. The popularity of his furniture spread rapidly beyond the borders of his native Austria. Opening branches in London in 1862 and New York in 1873, Thonet established 52 factories throughout Europe and North America by 1900.

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  • Title: Highchair
  • Creator: Michael Thonet
  • Date Created: 1880-1905
  • Location: Austria
  • Type: More Play Stuff
  • Medium: caned, beech, steel, brass
  • Object ID: 74.431

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