Cheaper than a bottle of wine

“The world’s most popular chair” turns 150.


It consists of six pieces of wood – two circles, two sticks and a couple of arches – held together by 10 screws and two nuts. Together they make the wooden chair known as Thonet Model No.14, which although no one has ever actually done the math, is thought to have seated more people than any other chair in history.

The No.14 was the result of years of technical experiments by its inventor, the 19th-century German-born cabinetmaker Michael Thonet. His ambition was characteristically bold. Thonet wanted to produce the first mass-manufactured chair, which would be sold at an affordable price (three florins, slightly less than a bottle of wine).

from “No. 14: The chair that has seated millions,” by Alice Rawsthorn, International Herald Tribune, 7 November 2008

Originally published at

Add Your Comments