The Bentwood chair is one of the most iconic and oldest production chairs still in existence today. It has graced a multitude of establishments ranging from back street Parisienne bistros, to the grandest London hotels and can be seen everywhere from Taiwan to Timbuktu. Its simple yet effective design has truly stood the test of time and is still as popular today as it was when it was first made. To celebrate the humble Bentwood chair, here at Cafe Solutions, we thought that it would be nice and indeed a little fun, to share some interesting facts, that you may or may not know.
Fact 1 – Bentwood chairs take their name from the fact that during the making process wood is bent using both moisture and heat. This produces a strong, yet flexible base. Although bending wood is an age old technique that dates back centuries, the Bentwood chair was one of the first items that was used to industrialise the process. Ash and beech wood are most commonly used because of their ability to bend without cracking or splitting.
Fact 2 – The first factory to specifically make Bentwood chairs was established in 1861 by Michael Thonet. Although bent wood first appeared on English chairs a couple of hundred years previous it was Thonet who simplified the process to create a sturdy, practical, mass-produced piece of furniture that was built for use.
Fact 3 – The most popular Bentwood chair is simply entitled Chair No 14 (it’s also referred to as the Qitay or Viena chair) and is the iconic coffee shop furniture. Chair No 14 has been continually produced since 1861 at the same factory and to date a staggering 80 million have been sold (50 million of these prior to 1930).
Fact 4 – Bentwood chairs are cheap to produce using mass production methods and as such Thonet used a novel way to demonstrate this. Back in 1867 at the world exhibition in Paris, he famously threw one off the top of the Eiffel Tower to showcase its expendibility as part of a now legendary publicity stunt. Needless to say, the crowd loved it and he was awarded a gold medal for design.
Fact 5 – Because of its popularity and simplicity in design the Bentwood chair has been copied by many top designers who have since experimented with other materials. Le Corbusier a pioneer of modern architecture famously remarked “Never was a more elegant, simple, precise and practical design ever crafted”.
Here at Cafe Solutions we have a wide variety of Bentwood chairs in stock all at very affordable prices. So why not check out our website at www.cafesolutions.com.au or contact us on (07) 3205 1616 to check out our selection.