Modern looking rocking chairs are so difficult to come by. And this one, although not officially modern by its design year, fills that void. This rocker, or I actually mean one like it, was first designed in the 1860s by Michael Thonet. So, by the time it was imported to the US from Czechoslovakia by Charles Stendig, the design was already 100 years old! That is what I call timeless design. By 1913 the bentwood rocker represented 5% of Thonet’s sales. Our model we are offering has a more Bauhaus look than the original #7064 rocker which is illustrated in the 1904 Gebruder Thonet catalog. It has more straight lines. No curls or spirals and no turned side pieces. Although we believe it to be derived from this model. Perhaps its more modern influence was provided by Josef Hoffmann or Le Corbusier. Or maybe even Charles Stendig himself! You can be sure it will complement your modern or mid-century modern décor.
Stendig was totally the brainchild and passion of Charles W. Stendig. You cannot write or talk about Stendig without explaining Charles. He was a pioneer of import goods in the mid-century. After serving in WWII as a paratrooper, he studied business with emphasis on international trade at NYU and City College of New York. Afterward first working for Raymor, another pioneering distribution company, for about two years departing to start his own business, Stendig. He opened his first showroom in 1956 in midtown Manhattan. He is credited for sparking America’s interest in furniture from Finland, Switzerland, Italy, and Czechoslovakia. He imported from the likes of Thonet, Asko, and De Sede; and from iconic designers including Le Corbusier, Josef Hoffmann, Eero Aarnio, Tapio Wirkkala, Marcel Breuer, Jonathan De Pas, Donato D’Urbino, Paolo Lomazzi, Carlo Mollino, Carlo Scarpa, and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni to name just a few. By the late 1960’s, Stendig had showrooms in Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco with a large headquarters in NYC. They were exciting and good times but short lived. The business was a challenge and when an offer was made by Burlington Industries to purchase, Charles agreed. He stayed on till 1976 to oversee and then retired. I have searched the internet to no avail to find out if a Stendig division is still in operation. But I can only find the Stendig Calendar, the only calendar in MoMA’s collection which was designed for Stendig by Mossimo Vignelli, offered. But having a hard time deciding who is creating and offering it. I do know Burlington Industries was bankrupt by 2001, purchased in 2003, merged with Cone Mills in 2004 and subsequently into ITG or International Textile Group. But the Stendig name reins as an icon of high style mid-century offerings.
Thonet was founded by Michael Thonet. Michael was born in 1796 and was apprenticed by his father to a cabinetmaker. Shortly after he married, Michael opened his one-man cabinetmaking shop creating furniture and cabinetry in the traditional manner by carving the needed parts and then joining them together. In 1830 he began experimenting with bending wood into curved shapes and thus began a successful furniture company that has remained continually in operation for nearly 200 years. Thonet’s early work was very Biedermeier in style and not made for the common man. Gradually his designs became more Art Nouveau. In 1951 his chairs for the Crystal Palace at the London World’s Fair won a prize medal and by the late 1950s he began to make his first “consumer” chair. In 1875, a year before Michael’s death, Thonet’s five factories made 620,000 chairs. Then in 1876 after his death the company became Gebruder Thonet. But all was not roses. In 1869 the Thonet patents lapsed and by 1893 there were 52 bentwood companies in Europe. However, Thonet persevered. They branched out. They merged. They added designs by Le Corbusier and Breuer and alternative materials such as tubular chrome in place of bentwood to their offerings. Business boomed and waned through the years and there was even a Thonet revival, so to speak, beginning in the 1940s on into the mid-20th century. Till today, in the 21st century, Thonet is still a furniture company to be reckoned with almost 200 years later.
Now after learning all the history attached to this rocker………….I know you want it. You must make it yours!