Friedrich, Wenzel

A no. 6 horn chair by Wenzel Friedrich, having acorn tips, a Texas star, and glass ball-and-claw feet, San Antonio, Texas, circa 1890s

p4A ItemID E8970778
An American longhorn settee, 19th century, Texas, possibly Wenzell Friedrich

p4A ItemID E8945190
A horn armchair attributed to Wenzel Friedrich of San Antonio, Texas, late 19th century

p4A ItemID E8888126
A horn chair with needlepoint upholstery, the work of Wenzel Friedrich, San Antonio, Texas, circa 1890, with two associated footstools

p4A ItemID E8886516

Wenzel Friedrich

Wenzel Friedrich, horn furniture maker, was born in Grunthal, Bohemia, in 1827. In 1853 he landed at Indianola, Texas, and settled in San Antonio. He established himself in the cabinetmaking trade, learned in Bohemia. In 1854, he married Agnes Urbaneck, and they had seven children; their youngest son, Albert Friedrich, was founder of the Buckhorn Saloon.

In 1880, Wenzel Friedrich expanded his business to include the manufacture of horn furniture. It has not been established whether he originated horn furniture, but over the next ten years he crafted some of the most innovative pieces. His works received awards of merit at the Cincinnati Industrial Exposition of 1883; the New Orleans Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition of 1884 to 1885; and the Southern Exposition at Louisville, Kentucky, in 1886. Between 1880 and 1890 his furniture, noted for its quality, was sold throughout the United States and Europe. His patrons included Queen Victoria, Kaiser Wilhelm I, and Otto von Bismarck. Friedrich died in San Antonio on November 7, 1902.

The glass balls on feet that Friedrich used were also used by Charles Puppe and William Mittmann, horn furniture makers of the 1880s in San Antonio. Mittmann also fitted the tips of his horns with acorn finials. Only Friedrich, however, used the glass ball feet, the acorn finials and the Texas Star on his pieces.

Source: Cowan’s Auctions, Inc.

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