Chair of The Week: The No. 14 chair by Michael Thonet
As you may have noticed, I like to profile a mix of old and new chairs in this blog feature. With that said, today’s post is probably the oldest chair you’re going to see. Why? Because it’s arguably the one that started it all — what we now know as modern furniture that is.
The No. 14 chair was designed by Michael Thonet in 1859. Using an innovative steam-bending production process that was incredibly advanced for it’s time, the No. 14 was able to be made by unskilled workers and mass produced at an affordable price. Furthermore, the chair consisted of only 6 components and a few screws and was easily disassembled to save space when storing and shipping – pioneering the concept flat pack furniture nearly a century before IKEA had even made their first flat pack table.
The No. 14 is one of (if not the) most commercially successful pieces of furniture of all time, with an estimated 50 million chairs sold between 1860 and 1930 alone. Although it is now known as the 214 Chair, it continues to be produced to it’s original specifications by Thonet in their Frankenberg Germany factory.
I think the No. 14‘s 150+ years of celebrity serves as enough proof that this right here, is what timeless looks like.