August Thonet, one of the five children of Michael Thonet, was born in 1829 in Boppard, Germany. He immediately gained an excellent reputation for his bent beech furniture.
In 1869 he started to manage the family business. During this period he also built and perfected machines for bending wood. In 1879 he was nominated Knight of the Order of Franz Joseph I. His position in the family business was taken over by Jacob Thonet in 1886.