I recently found a bentwood rocker at a local swap shop. At first I didn't really pay attention to it, just liked the way it looked. But the more i looked at it, the more i realized that it's not just an ordinary chair... So i started searching the internet and came across a lot of photographs of the same chair. I've been reading your website and it seems that there are a lot of repors of this Thonet chair. I looked for any engravings or signature on it and so far all i could find are very faint letters that look like POLAND (i think). Were Thonet chairs ever made in Poland? I also found number 33 on a few places. What's interesting is that the chair is in pretty good shape (seems to be very good quality) but the letters underneath the cane seat are very faint, as if the chair is very old... I would greatly appreciate any info! Thanks!
P.S. I apologize about the quality of the photos, i used my phone. On the close up picture you can see very faint letters ending with a D
Re; The "retro'Polish Thonet.
I have written a here at the site, a great deal about M. Thonet. Might I suggest, that you go to the older posts.
You will find everything there, regarding Thonet style chairs and furniture.
"is my rocker a genuine thonet"?
"how do you know"?
probably the most frequently asked questions on this site.
i asked exactly the same questions and began what has become a pilgrimage or mild obssession with thonet furniture in general.strangely i never see the same questions concerning other thonet furniture which is as beautiful,scarce and expensive as his rockers.(thonet mirrors go for tens of thousands of dollars/GBP worldwide - they are absolutely breathtaking).
i eventually made peace with the fact that i had a thonet design and not the genuine item made by thonet.but i immediately started hunting for the real thing.it took forever but when i saw it(thousands of kilometers away from home)i knew from all my research that this was the real article. however: much older ,rickety ,worn and in need of minor repairs.and a real treasure.
i adore my "repro" which is probably early fifties - the whole family does - everybody uses it almost every day - even my miniture schnauzer.the same will never hold true for the genuine rocker or any of the benches ,tables ,chairs i have managed to collect.
apart from their value they are simply too old to enjoy without fear of breaking them.
i am sure you will get the same assistance as i did from the available data on the site regarding your chairs authenticity.in the meantime i hope you enjoy your rocker as much as my family does.
Thank you for your reply! I have been reading this website for a few days now, and even though there is a lot of information it still didn't make me an expert at identifying if my chair is a Thonet... Would you suggest i try to find an appraiser in my area? Or any other clues that i should be looking for, besides finding engravings or signatures?
Genuine 19th century antique Thonets, are as rare as a hens tooth.
Very few exist anymore.
There are lots and lots of "repros" and fakes out there.
Genuine Thonets reside mainly in museums, inside sooty Victorian chimneys, landfill sites, but on occaisional rare moments also, surface in some peoples attics. By then, they are often beyond any "ER" treatment which a good restorer, might provide.
Today, the fakes and "look alikes" all go like hot cakes, just as they are also meant to do so. China invariable makes many, as did the Eastern European countries, then followed by Indonesia and India.
Fake Thonets, are much like fake Gucci, Rolex and all the rest, all Bling; but without much content.
Back in the 1830's M. Thonet, made affordabe inventive designs. He used shipbuilding skills, to make his furniture as a mass produced product.
Because of the methods of production and the fact that "beechwood" is a living organic material, it also tends to be allergic, to how we humans treat it.
Like a small child, it aso it throw tantrums, and then collapses.
Thats why the original M.Thonets, are as rare as a hens tooth.
In other words, genuines are genuine and "repro's are repro's. Never get the two mixed up, as that can be a highly expensive learning curve indeed.
i will get back to you.
Thank you for your replies and information!
I do have one more question though... From what i've read the Thonet factory didn't always use the burning method for their signatures, they started doing this after the "big merge"? What method did they use before then? I'm curious because after doing so much reading and researching i became very interested in the bentwood furniture. And will be on the lookout for anything interesting that i can find.
i am still looking for the info i need to give you.in the meantime may i direct you to a posting with some insightful info (assuming you have`nt been there already):
from the home page on this site:
click on forums
scroll down and open questions and answers
go to page 3
look for a posting on 21/1/2011 by len mulders:
"hi i need help.i have a rocking chair........."
the expert replies from d.lombardo gives one a lot of food for thought on antique furniture.
You can send high quality photos of your chairs directly to the authentication section of the Thonet Company to have your chairs authenticated and to obtain information on where/when they were manufactured, what series/number, etc.
Is it a free service they give?
Any chance a real Thonet would be stamped MADE IN ENGLAND with 2 stamped on pieces here and there with no Thonet insignia anywhere?
Never seen it before. Please post images and perhaps we can confirm.
I'm not sure Thonet ever had any factory in England.