The main personality behind the establishment of the world-famous company producing bent furniture was the ingenious inventor, cabinetmaker and furniture designer, Michael Thonet (1796–1871). 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 bent wood at the World Exhibition in London, for which he received bronze medal.
Four years later, it was already silver medal and in 1867 in Paris, golden medal for the most famous chair of all times – Chair No. 14. The success of the native from the Rhineland city of Boppard, Michael Thonet, and his five sons reached the highest upswing in Moravia 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 beech forests and the great skills of the local workers.
The heritage of Michael Thonet lives to this day. His ingenious and elaborate technological method of producing bent furniture has been perfected constantly over the years. The, what is today, business company THONET is based in the German city of Frankenberg and also the Gebrüder Thonet in Vienna was reborn. In the Czech Republic it is the TON in Bystřice pod Hostýnem which became a significant European center of production of high-quality furniture of bent wood.