The first years in Vienna
Michael Thonet arrived in Vienna with the cabinet courier in the spring of 1842. His financier from Boppard, Johann Walter van Meerten, was probably among his companions. On May 13th, only a few days after their arrival, they requested their first privilege: „to give all types of wood through a chemical/mechanical procedure all imaginable bends “. This privilege was granted him on July 16th by the Austrian royal court. It allowed Michael Thonet to„bend every type of wood, even the most brittle, into the desired forms and curves by chemical and mechanical means“.
However, due to a lack of capital, Michael Thonet was not able to found his own firm and to use the privilege independently.
Therefore during his first years in Vienna he worked for the furniture manufacturers List and Leistler rather than under his own name. They provided him the necessary financial support until he and his furniture became better known. Thonet produced inexpensive bent-wood chairs at the premises of the furniture manufacturer´s Clemens List, at Mariahilfer Strasse 72, since the Viennese guild also prevented him from becoming independent at first.
Presumably these were chairs as they are shown here- right in the middle: The backrest and the side panels of the seat are executed in the Boppard lamination technique, while the legs are made of solid wood. The production of the special Boppard "loop legs" initially was probably too complex and there were no apprentices in Vienna also available who were familiar with this type of production. Michaels eldest son Franz comes to Vienna in the spring of 1843. The Boppard canapé - see above - arises in a slightly different form: At the canapé and the chairs that were manufactured in Vienna the connection part in the back is open now and the front part of the seat shows the same form as we find them even in the simple Boppard chair.
The “occasional Boppard chair" - see below - is a model that Michael Thonet may have produced only in Vienna. Stylistically, there is not almost a model from the Mainz area known, which would thereby comparable. This chair is probably a first attempt of Michael Thonet, to produce occasional chairs - in Vienna called "Laufsessel" - in the kind of the Boppard chair: "Viennese Boppard chairs," adapted the elegant taste of the metropolis. The principle of the side frame of the chair Boppard time here is only visible in the base. The backrest is a separate element.