functional, beautiful, timeless: for looking at and sitting on

Gebrüder Thonet, company design Vienna Café Chair (no. 18) 1876 bent beech wood 33.5" x 17" x 20" [detail of installation]

One of my favorites in MoMA's Architecture and Design Collection is this simple chair.

Thonet patented the bentwood process, but their patent expired a few years before this chair was manufactured. D.G. Fischel Sohne was one of several Austrian firms ready to imitate their success with seductively-curved wood. Years ago, while acquiring modest colonial and federal Rhode Island furniture for my old house in Providence I managed to pick up a simple Fischel side chair very much like this Thonet for only a couple of dollars.

I appreciated its simple beauty from the beginning, but In Providence it had to wait upstairs in a small back storage room for years. In New York it has been able to join the very eclectic collection of stuff I've spread throughout our 1930's apartment. Now I admire its simple dignity every day, although I have to admit that it wouldn't have looked at all odd if I had mixed it with the skinny windsors in the little 1760's house from the start.

I have 2 Fischel chairs that I found in the attic. I have tried to find out something about these chairs, but the information I have read so far mentions Fischel as coming from Austria. The chairs I have come from Czechoslovakia. Can anyone give me any more info.

The mystery is solved if you know that there was no Czechoslovakia until 1918.

What became an independent country only after the First World War (today called the Czech Republic after being twice reduced in size) had been the Imperial Austrian regions of Bohemia, Slovakia, Czech Silesia and Carpatho-Ukraine.

In 1867 the Empire's internal borders and political power arrangements were rearranged, giving the Hungarians a half share in the ancient Habsburg fief once known as "the Holy Roman Empire". The Habsburgs continued to rule over what was now called "Austria-Hungary", the empire's third formal designation in sixty years.

The unfortunate Czechs had to wait to enjoy their own sovereignty until the disintegration of the multi-national empire of their Austro-Hungarian suzerains which followed the Axis military defeat fifty years later.

Bentwood chairs continued to be made throughout this period by Fischel and others, although I'm not sure whether the Fischel company survived the Great War. There appears to be a certain amount of information on the internet: Try Googling "Fischel Bentwood history".

The simple chair.
Do we have a $ value for one with a Fischel label from Czecholsovakia?


I, too, have Fischel bentwood chairs from Czechoslovakia. I am looking for a $ value. Anyone have an idea?


furhter info to date your chair..

P a p e r - p a p e r
and the Company name is simply indicated as

I have six bentwood chairs [one with damaged seat] that have "FISCHLER TCHECOSLOV" stamped on them.
Could this be the name of the region that eventually became Czechoslovakia?
Anyone know date and value - anyone interested in them?