Abraham Roentgen (1711-1795)

Abraham Roentgen came from a German family of furniture makers. He was born in Mulheim, near Cologne. Apprenticed to his father until the age of twenty, he subsequently travelled to The Hague, Rotterdam and Amsterdam and on to London, where he worked for various cabinetmakers. In 1736, Roentgen returned to Germany and, eventually settled in the town of Neuwied, where he set up a workshop. Roentgen's ingenious pieces of furniture often feature marquetry and extensions and drawers operated by secret buttons. In 1767, Roentgen found himself beset by financial problems: he had allowed his debts to accumulate and was left with a large stock of unsold furniture. In 1777, he passed his business on to his son David, who was to achieve international fame as a furniture maker.

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