Identifying The Age Of Thonet Chairs And Other Thonet Furniture

For several days, I have been looking over this site and everything else that Google can give me to figure out how to determine the age of a Thonet rocking chair I recently bought off Craigslist. This site has been helpful, but it has also lead me in circles of countless articles that point to other posts that still don’t seem to give a definitive answer. Today, however, I came across a webpage that explains the history of Michael Thonet’s company history. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/mass-production-chair-man-1312583.html

Finally!

While this doesn’t provide all the answers, it does provide information on when Thonet was producing in each country and when his operations merged with Kohn-Mundus (that was in 1923, by the way). If your piece of furniture has a “Made In...” stamped or carved anywhere on it, then you can likely use the information here to help narrow down the time frame of when your piece was built.

For me specifically, and for several other people I’ve seen on this site, I wanted to find out the age of a Thonet Rocking Chair Model No. 1 that (1) has “THONET” burned into the bottom of the backrest on its back side, and (2) has “MADE IN POLAND” stamped in red on the front rim on the seat on its under side. From what I gathered thanks to the web link posted above, it seems that this would have been produced at the earliest during the onset of the first world war (when most of Thonet’s chairs had to be produced in Poland and Czechoslovakia) and at the latest by 1923 (when “Thonet was forced to merge with Kohn-Mundus to form Mundus-Allgemeine-Handels-und Industrie-Gesellschaft”). However, that end-date is based on an assumption that after such a merger, the company would no longer have burned “THONET” into the back of the chair.

I am still looking for...

1. where I can submit the ID numbers (00054) on the tag (which is located next to the “MADE IN POLAND” stamp) to get the specific date my chair was produced.

2. a reputable website that I can refer to potential buyers who want to verify the rocker’s authenticity and age.

Please reply if you know where to find either of those things. Thanks!

Thonet Rocking Chair Made In Poland

So... what do you think? Please leave me a comment.

25 Comments:

  • jade: Thanks for the very helpful information you shared with us.
  • regina: I have a thonet rocker chair #1 i dont see any marks or the name "TH0NET" on the back,how would i find out when it was produced and is it worth anything?
  • tashasilvester: Thank you so much for that wonderful post, it was very informative and interesting as well. Not everyone can determine the age of antique furniture very well which is also the reason many get deceived about the authenticity of the antique.
  • Eileen in NJ: This was the best answer so far to my question of whether my "Made in Poland" bentwood rocker really a Thonet? I’ve gotten one positive "Yes" and one "its a repro" but this information you’ve provided makes the most sense, and I am very grateful for your time and consideration in providing all the links and info.
  • red_baroness: an authentic original thonet (tone-ette) bentwood rocker would NOT have a "made in poland" on it anywhere. which states that your chair is probably a reproduction. as to whether or not you can tell the age of your chair; an original older model, the "Schaukel-Fauteuil No. 1" or "Rocking Chair No. 1." Produced in 1890 in Koritschan, Moravia would have shorter armrests and less elaborate curves in the structure of the legs. by the turn of the century these chairs became more elaborate and came in more colors. an original only came in 3 colors; mohogany, black, and hazelnut. an older model would also be built out of beechwood and cane. there are only 25 real authentic bentwoods out there. and if you or someone you know has one they should keep it in its originality. if you refurbish an original, it will only be worth as much as a reproduction ($100-$300). hope this was helpful!
  • red_baroness: red_baroness responded:
    an authentic original thonet (tone-ette) bentwood rocker would NOT have a "made in poland" on it anywhere. which states that your chair is probably a reproduction. as to whether or not you can tell the age of your chair; an original older model, the "Schaukel-Fauteuil No. 1" or "Rocking Chair No. 1." Produced in 1890 in Koritschan, Moravia would have shorter armrests and less elaborate curves in the structure of the legs. by the turn of the century these chairs became more elaborate and came in more colors. an original only came in 3 colors; mohogany, black, and hazelnut. an older model would also be built out of beechwood and cane. there are only 25 real authentic bentwoods out there. and if you or someone you know has one they should keep it in its originality. if you refurbish an original, it will only be worth as much as a reproduction ($100-$300). hope this was helpful!
  • Maggie: Thank you, red_baroness for all that help! I’m trying to figure out the authenticity and age of my Thonet right now as well. The markings I’m looking at are the "Thonet" on the back and there is a stamp underneath the bottom seat that says "XIP 24" As for the color, it looks like beechwood to me. Any help in valuing and finding the age of the chair would be great. Thank you!
  • TomC: According to the history piece linked in the post, a rocker made by Thonet could have been made in Poland, and definitely narrows down the production date to after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (post 1918)...
    "The Thonet factories were only able to work for two days a week and, as the Austro- Hungarian Empire had collapsed, except for Frankenberg, they were now located in Poland and Czechoslovakia."
  • cemil güzey: I suppose you’re right.I have 3 convertible chairs from grandpa stamped "Made in Czechoslovakia" and the date mentioned is roughly the same(end of the first war).
  • Theresa:

    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.

  • Theresa: Sorry, last link was broken: http://en.thonet.de/service/authenticity-verification.html
  • Probst54: Hi Len, I have one made in Poland exactly like the photo above but darker. Hand caned etc. Mine has sturdy twine around the joints and it appears that the twine is well done and original. I can’t get $50 dollars for it. Maybe I should disassemble and send it to you.
  • Robert-Oscar: To the Red Baroness....
    Thonet is pronounced "toe-net" As in English: big "toe" and butterfly "net", that is with a hard "t" at the beginning and end! If you have any doubts type the spelling into any German or Czech translation software and confirm for yourself.
    People when identifying and authenticating always....ALWAYS question authority! Many "authorities" pass along misinformation that is confusing, not quite complete or just entirely wrong. Many companies used shared factories, had mergers, employees moved around, people collaborated with other, as with Thonet, there were many factories in different places (Poland, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Vienna...) because of need for materials, workforce and to avoid import duties and tariffs.... there are many reasons the information gets confused and sometimes the story is half-right, which means it is also half-wrong! Check multiple sources, company sites (if available), old sales brochures and print ads, museums, collectors, many times a pattern emerges as companies and people moved around for numerous reasons over the decades but the facts will start to align. The internet is an excellent source of information....once you wade through all of the mis-information. The more detailed, accurate information usually takes a bit more work.... and the history and identification of bentwood furniture is a bit more twisted.....pun intended! - Robert
  • Steve D. Hill: Very informative article. My mom’s surely gonna love one of those thonets. Now I know how to get the right one. Thanks.
  • DavidJ: I have what is supposed to be a "Thonet" rocking chair. It has "Thonet" burned into a section on the underside of the chair and is made of very dark (almost black) bentwood. Unusually it has no armrests. If this is a Thonet rocking chair what model might it be?
  • Antiques RSA: We would need to see images.
  • Deb: I have an old appearing Bentwood rocker with the number 14 carved under the side of one arm support. Anyone know what it signifies?
    Thanks
  • darren j: i also have just found a thonet leather patch work stitched chair rocker ,cleaned it looked on web sigth was one in a just images of thonet chairs exactly the same as mine , looks really old will be looking for dates and any markings on it has this faded pink fleshy paper on back and under the seat of the rocking chair will be looking in the places you have just described . darren joyce England
  • Kellyk:

    FYI-I had a Thonet stamped, Made in Poland stamped, V3 stamped bentwood rocker. I sent the pictures to authentication@thonet.de and received this response. Thank you very much for your message and the photos. The rocking chair no 10 you have is a Model which was sold by Thonet Industries. The chair was produced in the 60s in the former Thonet factory „Nowo Radomsk“ Poland. At that time the polish factory produced some models for Thonet Industries/USA. Thonet Industries exists since 1940 and never belonged to Thonet/Germany. For further Information please contact Thonet Industries, USA.

  • Sigrun Asa Sturludottir: Hi.
    Thank you for sharing this information it was helpful.
    I’ve still not been able to price my Thonet Clap Chair from my grandparents summerhouse. It is of bent wood, with wood sheet for seat and Thonet brand on back. I wish I could post a photo here.
    Thanks,
    Sigrun Asa
  • Cemil Güzey: Dear Sigrun,
    I think that your chair is almost identical with five of my chairs inherited from my grandparents.You are free to send a photo to me.
  • John: Our Bentwood Rocker has:
    "Thonet" stamped, in a radius fashion, on the lower inside edge of the rocker back.
    "Fabrique en Pologne" stamped inside of seat rim.
    It was purchased by us in 1973 in Toronto, Canada.
    The caning of the seat has been damaged. Where can we get the caning replaced. We now live south of Dallas Texas
  • RAC: Me too! Same chair. Has Thonet burn & stamped made in Poland.
  • Stew: Hi, I have a bentwood side chair that is in the Thonet No 18 pattern. It is dated "DEC. 12 1870". The date, as well as some letters are impressed.
    The letters, "P.R.". There is no country of origin or manufacture marks. The date was impressed more than once, rather haphazardly, as well as some other letters to the bottom of the seat frame. The seat has been upholstered on a plywood slab, probably replaced. I assume original but is not signed.

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