For reasons we can’t quite articulate, horn décor has always fascinated us. There’s a boldness to them that’s fierce yet alluring, rugged and reminiscent of the romance of the West.
Like lots of our little obsessions, we always have our eye out for authentic and well-crafted horn pieces, from classic Victorian mounts to saloon-style mirrors. And, much like our other obsessions, it took digging into the DDR Design Archive to realize just how many of these magnificent finds we’ve accumulated along the way. Naturally, these vintage beauties will have a new home in the Fort Worth flagship store – because what better place for longhorns than Cowtown! – until they find their forever home with you.
FRIEDRICH, WENZEL (1827–1902).Wenzel Friedrich, horn furniture maker, was born in Grünthal, Bohemia, on July 2, 1827. In 1853 he emigrated, landed at Indianola, Texas, and settled in San Antonio. He soon established himself in cabinetmaking, a trade he had learned in Bohemia. He became a founding member of San Antonio's first volunteer fire department and later was a charter member of the Number Two Fire Company. On December 8, 1854, he married Agnes Urbaneck. The couple had seven children; their youngest son, Albert Friedrich, was founder of the Buckhorn Saloon.
In 1880 Friedrich expanded his cabinet making 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. His works received awards of merit at the Cincinnati Industrial Exposition of 1883, the New Orleans Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition of 1884–85, 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, Otto von Bismarck, and Kaiser Wilhelm I. Friedrich died in San Antonio on November 7, 1902. Today his furniture is displayed in museums throughout the United States.
Perhaps one of our all-time (and certainly our current) favorite furniture set was hand-crafted by the Lone Star legend himself. The magnificent trio is a Victorian pair of leather and steer horn chairs with matching ottoman. Y’all, they look like something straight out of a movie! All pieces are upholstered in leather, and the ottoman retains original caster feet. It goes without saying that these are undeniable conversation-starters, but they are also coveted collector’s items that will only become more and more valued over time. Soon, you’ll be able to check them out for yourself in person at the Fort Worth flagship store – along with a ton of Cheryl’s other one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-lifetime finds!
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