From Vienna to Vilnius: The Technology of Bentwood Furniture, Factories, and Their Production in the Late Nineteenth – Early Twentieth Century

Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis


  • Eglė Bagušinskaitė



bentwood / Viennese furniture, Michael Thonet, Leiba Gilels, Bukowiena


The impact of the European modernisation process, innovations, the introduction of modern technologies and efficient production methods, as well as the application of new materials and design in furniture production in Vilnius began only in the late 19th century. At that time, furniture production in Vilnius was concentrated exclusively in the hands of craftsmen, and it was not until the late 19th century that the owners of furniture factories, who came from the merchant class rather than craftsmen’s guilds, emerged as a separate group.

Bentwood, or so-called Viennese furniture, occupies a unique place in the history of furniture, marking the beginning of mass production. It is a unique product of the modernisation of furniture production. In the article, attention is given to the specific production features of bentwood furniture, its design solutions, and the most important European companies and factories that produced this furniture. The emergence of local producers and their desire to establish themselves on the market and compete with imported products is discussed. At first, the Vilnius factories that produced complete sets of furniture are presented. Then, the factories that produced only individual parts (wooden rods) for bentwood furniture are discussed. The article is illustrated with surviving examples, which testify to the comprehensive knowledge and adoption of technology, design, and marking in the production of bentwood furniture.

Author Biography

Eglė Bagušinskaitė

is a specialist in movable cultural property at the Cultural Heritage Centre, historian, and art historian. In 2021, she defended her thesis in Art History, Manufacture of Furniture in Vilnius from the Second Half of the 19th Century to the Beginning of the 20th Century: Craft and Industry, at the Vilnius Academy of Arts. Fields of research include: the influence of modernization on the development of furniture; fur­niture production, import and heritage in Lithuania from the second half of the nine­ teenth century to the beginning of the twentieh century; Vilnius furniture makers and their artefacts; interior history.



How to Cite

Bagušinskaitė, E. (2023). From Vienna to Vilnius: The Technology of Bentwood Furniture, Factories, and Their Production in the Late Nineteenth – Early Twentieth Century: Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis. Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis, (110-111), 458–485.