Wenzel Friedrich, horn furniture maker, was born in Grünthal, Bohemia. 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 cabinetmaking 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. Today his furniture is displayed in museums throughout the United States.
Richard St. John, Longhorn Artist: Wenzel Friedrich (Wichita State University Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, 1982).