Learn about Bentwood

The Austrian bentwood furniture designed by Michael Thonet (1796-1871) was among the 19th century's most original contributions to furniture development. Thonet used the techniques of steam-bending and the pliable nature of beech wood to make chairs, tables, hallstands, cots and so on. The furniture was simple in form, light in weight, elegant and capable of being mass produced, so that bentwood furniture was exported to many parts of the world, including Australia, following its success at the 1851 Great Exhibition. Thonet chairs, and those made by his competitor Kohn, often have paper trade labels pasted on the inside seat rail. Thonet was not the first to apply the techniques of steam bending to furniture. It was used, for example, during the 18th century by the Windsor chair makers to construct bow back or hoop back chairs, and the arched crinoline stretchers but he was the first to exploit it on such a vast commercial scale.

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Antique bentwood occasional table, 56 cm x 56 cm, 62 cm high

Pair of folding bentwood and cane chairs, c. 1900, in the manner of Gebruder Thonet, one seat (A/F), height 90 cm width 59 cm depth 77 cm. Provenance: the collection of Hugh Fraser

A set of stylish Art Nouveau bentwood chairs by J. And J Kohn, Austrian circa 1905

An interesting large bentwood arrmchair together with another ratan back chair.

An easy chair similar to Bruno Mathsson's 'Eva' design, bentwood beech ply framed with woven webbing upholstery.

A French provincial bentwood hallstand with central oval mirror. 200 cm high, 98 cm wide

A fine Thonet bentwood and cane settee, circa 1900, the curved beech frame with a hole to hole cane shaped back and a conforming seat, with curvaceous arm supports and tapering legs. Height 97 cm. Width 137 cm. Depth 60 cm

Early 20th century bentwood settee by Thonet 110 x 106 x 57 cm

An early 20th century bentwood chaise lounge by Thonet 190 x 90 x 61 cm

Shaped oval marble top table with bentwood legs, early 20th century 80 x 98 x 70 cm

Bentwood rocking chair rocking chair with analined leather seat and back. Press stud detail Italy, c. 1920 108 cm high, 57 cm wide, 108 cm deep

Pair of side chairs bentwood with square sectional side features original laquered finish Austria, c. 1910 80 cm high, 57 cm wide, 54 cm deep

A mid 20th century bentwood music stand and stool designed by Peter Moritz

Bentwood stool, approx 60 cm high, 38 cm diameter

Mahogany bentwood pair of plant stands designed for the Libra Company Cambridge England. Condition excellent to good, almost as new. Height 24.5 cm

A large Thonet bentwood hallstand, Austrian, circa 1910. approx. 1.1m high

A bentwood stool. C. 1950s, Australia. Bentwood with black leather seat. 38 cm high, 47 cm wide, cm

An Edwardian bentwood rocking chair with floral upholstery 48 cm x 92 cm x 88 cm

Antique bentwood towel rack, approx 83 cm high, 65 cm wide

A set of eight Thonet style bentwood dining chairs c.1890. The set comprising of two carvers and six dining chairs with rattan cane seats. Note: old manufactures 'Austrian' paper label underneath seat frames. Heights: 101 cm & 106 cm

A bentwood nine-piece drawing room suite designed by Gustave Siegel, Austrian circa 1905, with square brass feet, settee 124 cm wide and 75 cm high

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