bentwood chairs by Thonet…

I had a bit of a furniture adventure over the weekend. We were visiting family near Rhinebeck, New York and enjoying the beautiful weather. We decided to take the kids to a farm for some fall fun and on the way there I spotted some chairs being sold from the corner of my eye. If I had been driving I would have slowed down, pulled a u-turn and investigated a bit more. I was not driving. 
We got to the farm and I decided I had to go back and see what they were. My husband took over and I was able to go back and see what it was I thought, or rather hoped, I saw. If my eye was not playing tricks on me they were Bentwood style chairs, you know, these kind…

So now you can totally understand why I temporarily ditched the field trip to take another look. I got back to the antique store, where most items are on display outside. Don’t ask. 
I saw 5 bentwood chairs right by the side of the road. They had signs and pumpkins stashed on them which I removed. Four of the chairs were in great condition and a perfect set. The fifth chair was a bentwood chair but a much flimsier version. As I turned the chairs over I saw this label underneath…
Michael Thonet perfected the craft of wetting wood with water or steam and bending it, hence the term “bentwood.” He first began making this style of furniture in the 1800’s and the lightweight, durable and comfortable chairs are still popular today. We actually had an orange bentwood chair when I was young. I of course had no idea what it was then. All I knew was that it made fantastic forts.
I carried the four matching chairs to the owner who assured me they were kept indoors at night. There was no damage to them and they had not been touched. No layers of paint to remove or mistakes to cover. I always assumed that if I ever found chairs like these I’d be doing it piece by piece. I’d cover any inconsistencies with the same color paint. These are virgin chairs. They have the original hardware, and are sturdy with a solid wooden seat. No wiggle or wobbles. Perfect.

I had no idea what price she was going to quote me. I had a number in my head that I would not go above so I held my breath. She wanted $20 per chair. $80 dollars for four Thonet Bentwood chairs! I’ve purchased folding chairs for the same price. Sold.

I’m still doing my research to try and figure out how much they are actually worth and how old they are. Any information would be greatly appreciated! All I do know is that they were part of an estate sale and had been found in an attic. They need some work but pretty soon they will be found in my kitchen. 

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