In 1861, a bent furniture plant was opened in Bystřice pod Hostýnem and today it is among the oldest in the world. It was no coincidence that its founder Michael Thonet, whose name the plant bore, chose this place. Surrounded by beech forests offering enough material for the manufacturing process, Bystřice pod Hostýnem also saved on transportation and labour costs thanks to its location. Very unusual industrial labour organisation system, where the workers were specialised in only one task, and also use of unique technologies were other factors that helped the chairs from Bystřice compete at a reasonable price and expand all over the world.
Even ten years since the opening, 300,000 items of bent furniture were being made every year. By 1912, the number had risen to 445,000 items and almost 2,000 people looked after the products. In return, the Thonet family took care of their employees. They set up vocational schools for wood processing, kindergartens, a band in Bystřice pod Hostýnem and supported the construction of a railway, built homes for workers and even opened a casino.