13 September 2010

Chair, $9.99
German-born cabinetmaker Michael Thonet launched his No.14 chair in 1859, after years of experimenting with the use of steam to bend wood. Some 50 million of the lightweight, inexpensive No.14 chairs were sold between 1860 and 1930, making it an integral part of the look of the cafés and clubs of the era. The basic technique for making bentwood furniture hasn’t changed significantly since the nineteenth century, and the No.14 chair as well as other Thonet café chairs are still in production in Europe. This particular style first appeared in the 1890s, and was popular with department stores due to its unobtrusive low back. This particular chair, however, is most likely a replica. Or maybe even a replica of a replica. But it is solid, comfortable and transports me to fin-de-siècle Paris or Vienna.

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