Eames fiberglass chairs

Eames fiberglass chairs

Who are Charles and Ray Eames?


Charles and Ray Eames are ranked among the 20 most important designerse century. In the early 1940s, they were the first to be able to design and mass produce molded plywood furniture with curves.


Their work caught the attention of the military at the start of World War II. The Eames were involved in the war effort to design molded plywood stretchers and aircraft parts.


After the war, they continued their work in designing furniture to choose only four.


They built their own house and studio in 1949 located at 203 North Chautauqua Boulevard in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles as part of the Arts & Architecture magazine case study program. The Eames House, now a museum, is considered a classic of modern residential architecture.


In addition to their furniture design, the couple Charles and Ray Eames wrote a number of books, produced exhibitions, films and created toys. In 1950, the Eames made their first film Traveling Boy.


The accomplishments of Charles and Ray Eames are numerous. They notably participated in the 1964 World's Fair, in the development of design of the National Aquarium in 1966 in the USA or at the conference of Charles Norton at the 1971 computer exhibition.


The birth of the fiberglass chair and Eames


It all began in 1948 during a competition organized by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The Eames set out to create a chair to meet the post-war furnishing needs of middle-class American homes. That's when they presented their prototype of a fiberglass chair. Due to its originality, the Eames won second place in the competition.


A year later, they contacted a factory to mass produce the first one-piece molded fiberglass chair. They thus manage to respond to their problem: to create a conceptual chair that can be mass-produced for average Americans.


How to distinguish an Eames chair?


Eames chairs were the first chairs made from mass-dyed fiberglass with a one-piece shell and a choice of different bases.


The main characteristics of these chairs are as follows:


  • Their colors: the first version of the Eames chair was available in 11 colors. But over the years, 16 new colors have been added to the range.
  • Their engraving: the Eames chairs are indeed engraved under the shell. This engraving is also used to date the series of the chair.
  • Fiberglass: it is possible to see the fiberglass edges on the shell of the chair with the naked eye. Today fiberglass like asbestos is no longer used, recent Eames chairs are made from plastic.


All of these essential features will allow you to distinguish a real Eames chair from a fake, and a real vintage Eames chair from the 1950s - 1960s versus a more recent Eames chair.


What are the editions of the Eames chairs?


Following the success of the chair, Les Eames have developed 9 editions through the ages.

The first of these is therefore the Eames chair created in 1950 following the New York MomA competition. Zenith Plastics was the first factory to produce the Eames chairs and it was Herman Miller who distributed them.


The second edition of Eames chairs was made in 1953 again by the production of the Zenith Plastics factory. This second generation is characterized by its red label with the name of Charles Eames below the chair.


From 1953 to 1957 following the growing success of his chairs, Charles Eames decided to speed up production, this time going through two new factories: Summit Plastics and Cincinnati Milacron. These chairs are called the Transitional Chairs and are recognizable by their label below the chair on which the patent is inscribed.


Between 1953 and 1970, a new generation of Eames chairs was released: the Cincinnati Milacron, produced in Ohio, this generation is recognizable by its Herman Miller logo.


Cock-a-doodle Doo ! Between 1972 and 1989 and following a collaboration between Herman Miller and Mobilier International, the Eames chair and this time produced in France, and more particularly in Tours. This is the start of the internationalization of the Eames chair. You can find a Mobilier International label below the chair.


Finally between 1972 and 1989 it was the turn of the German Vitra to resume production of Eames chairs for the international market. The chairs in this series are recognizable by their M or V molded directly into the plastic below the chair.