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 welcome page » History  » History of economy & society 
Metternich, the man who made Thonet
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Metternich, the man who made Thonet

20 pp. · 5.48 EUR
( June 22, 2017 )

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Clemens Lothar Wenzel Metternich made his name in history as the embodiment of the Congress of Vienna. Metternich the diplomat used his ability to convince, if not to seduce other statesmen in order to win their support for the political order he had in mind for Europe. But Metternich was more than an able political negotiator. As a man of good taste with a keen interest in technical progress he caught the innovative quality of Michael Thonet's experiments in furniture making on seeing his pieces on an exhibition in Koblenz. It inspired the offer he made Michael Thonet in 1841; an offer the furniture maker was happy to accept. Their encounter in Koblenz was a minor event in the life of Metternich; for Thonet it was decisive. Without Metternich's intervention the world would never have seen the iconic Thonet café chair. Metternich's proposal, his further support and what happened thereafter is the subject of this chapter. The story brings to light a less known dimension of the person Metternich. In relation to the theme of this book, the Congress of Vienna, the story told in this chapter is petite histoire. Yet, in name, fame and longevity the Thonet chair survived by far the system to which Metternich's name was attached.

quotable essay from ...
the author
Prof. emer. Andries Nentjes

Emeritus professor in Economics and Public Finance, University of Groningen.

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