Veneering circular saw, 1816

© Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
© Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Collection Area
Production Technology
1800 - 1849
At the moment this object is not published in the museum.

Almost six metres long and more than three metres tall: it’s a woodworking behemoth and an important reminder of the high standard of Viennese furniture making during the Biedermeier period.

Since the 18th century, European nations had been importing more and more timber from their colonies overseas. Species of flowering tree such as logwood, yellowwood and redwood were used to extract dyes; other types of timber were used in cabinetry. Their principal clientele consisted of wealthy aristocrats, the middle classes, and clerics in larger towns and cities. Initially the timber was cut into planks and boards, with wood shavings and sawdust making up a quarter or even half of the original volume. Techniques were therefore soon developed for planing these materials. The renowned engineer Marc Isambard Brunel described one such device in London in 1806.

Vienna, too, had its share of wealthy clients keen to furnish their households with items of furniture fashioned from imported timber. The brothers Alois and Martin Munding in particular specialised in processing timber of this kind. They ran a cutting and stamping mill along the Rennweg canal, comminuting dyewood as well as madder and outgrowths of oak for the tanning industry. Alois Munding is said to have started using a veneer cutting machine as early as 1800, with two workers operating it by means of a treadle. In 1817 the Munding brothers were awarded a concession (patent) for inventing a circular saw that allowed thin veneers to be cut more efficiently.

The legal protection afforded to the Munding brothers evidently referred to this veneering circular saw now on show at the Technisches Museum Wien. It remained in operation for 58 years, i.e. until around 1874. The significance of this object was recognised early on. After the founding of an Imperial & Royal Museum of the History of Work in Austria in 1889, it became part of the museum’s collection, along with other prominent testimonies to the history of technology.

Manufacturer: Alois and Martin Munding

Date of origin: 1816

Inv.Nr. 8777

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