Karl Friedrich Schinkel, 1820
Industrialization, with its new manufacturing techniques and materials began to supplant the traditional turnerÙs and woodcarverÙs crafts in furniture-making. Long before Michael ThonetÙs first experiments with bent wood the use of iron had led to important innovations in this field. As early as 1736 an armaments manufacturer established by tsar Peter the Great started to produce large quantities of furniture made of cast iron.
Karl Friedrich Schinkel, a Prussian master builder, also used the cast iron process to rationalize furniture production. It was SchinkelÙs architectural work in particular which earned him the reputation of one of the major exponents of German »classicism«, but his work as a furniture designer was also of great significance. His elegant interpretations of the »classics« produced designs of formal austerity for all kinds of different purposes. SchinkelÙs designs included not only wooden furniture but also, at the beginning of the 19th century, large numbers of iron trestle tables, garden furniture and other items of furniture.