Michael Thonet (1796 –1871) was the ingenious German-Austrian inventor, cabinetmaker and furniture designer, known for the invention of bentwood furniture. In 1849, he founded the company “Thonet Söhne” in Vienna, which was later renamed to “Gebrüder Thonet” and, as early as in 1851, he introduced the so-called Viennese chairs of bentwood at the World Exhibition in London, for which he received bronze medal status. Four years later, his work received silver medal status and in 1867 in Paris, a golden medal was awarded for the most famous chair of all times – the Chair No. 14. The Chair 14 put Thonet on the global stage.
The success of Michael Thonet, and his five sons reached their greatest heights in the region of Moravia, Czechoslovakia, where their factories in Koryčany (1857) and Bystřice pod Hostýnem (1861) gained fame on a global scale thanks to their spirit of enterprise, the vast local beech forests and the exceptional skills of the local workers. Today, the business company THONET is based in the German city of Frankenberg and Gebrüder Thonet was reborn in Vienna. The oldest original Michael Thonet factory in existence and continuance production is in Bystřice pod Hostýnem, now known as TON.