Boppard Layerwood Chair (1836)

The Layerwood chair uses the famous wood bending technique developed by Michael Thonet. Today, the renowned cabinetmaker and furniture designer is synonymous with elegance and vintage industrial design.

Photo of Michael Thonet in his 60s.
Michael Thonet in his 60s

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Rocking chair made by Thonet-Mundus, number B 804 with feets support (in catalogue under chair no. B 829).
Rocking chair made by Thonet-Mundus

Image source: by Dominik Matus

Innovative Chair

In the 1830s, Thonet experimented with furniture using glued and bentwood slats. Then, in 1836, Thonet successfully created the Boppard Layerwood Chair, which was the predecessor to the Bentwood Model 14, using glue as a component. After, Thonet acquired a glue factory, in 1837, that produced the glue used for this process.  Additionally, the chair did not require any glue at all, which left Thonet with an unnecessary glue factory.

N.1 (for the Palais Schwarzenburg) (1849), Michael Thonet and sons.
N.1 (1849) by Michael Thonet and sons

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Thonet  Chair,"Chair no. 14" ("Konsumstuhl Nr. 14") from 1859.
“Chair no. 14” (1859) designed by Thonet

Image source: by Holger.Ellgaard

Photo of a Thonet Brothers' auction catalog, with different chair designs, dated 1885.
Thonet Brothers auction catalog dated 1885

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The Boppard Layerwood chair was Michael Thonet’s first success, although he was unable to obtain a patent in various countries for the chair technology he invented. Further, the Thonet chair used light and strong woods, curved into very graceful shapes thanks to the use of hot steam. Thus, he was able to create many unique, comfortable and durable designs. Despite his initial difficulties, the use of hot steam and wood laid the foundation for his tremendous success.

Photo of an example of a Boppard Chair, by Thonet.
Boppard Chair (1836-40), Michael Thonet

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