Welcome to our second blog post! They may not be coming thick and fast but we shall be steadily adding more and more interesting blogs for you wonderful readers and to help you with learning different aspects about Eames products.
Quite possibly one of the most iconic parts of the Eames collection is the dowel base used on the Eames fiberglass side and arm shells. Other than the iconic Lounge Chair and Ottoman, this piece is known widely as ‘The Eames Chair’. Easily the most popular version of the revolutionary ‘Shell Chair’ collection, it might surprise you to learn that it was not always the case.
When it was first introduced in the early 1950s it was only produced for a very small number of years due to it suffering with many problems. Sadly, it kept breaking and so Herman Miller quickly discontinued it (which makes finding original vintage ones very difficult but, if you do, they can be worth a lot!) preferring to use the, already established, ‘H’ base and the classic Rod base, more commonly known as the ‘Eiffel base’.
It was only very recently that this simple yet beautiful base was re-introduced by Herman Miller and this time they did it with the added improvement of metal rod inserts in the leg (making them a lot stronger). It is from this point that this modest little base has finally seen the popularity it always should have had and, within a few short years, has helped propel it to be the most sought-after base for the beautiful Eames fiberglass shell (especially when offered in a mesmerizing selection of natural wood finishes which you can see on our site).
We believe it has become popular due to its timeless feel, much like the shells themselves. They work effortlessly with both the standard fiberglass and upholstered shells and on both side and arm variants whilst being versatile enough to comfortably sit in almost any environment, be it dining room table or office space. They simultaneously look ‘homely’ and ‘official’, especially with the wide range of shells that can be applied to them!
We hope this has been an interesting read for you and hopefully there might be some fun facts in this blog post which can be used some time in the future!
We’re glad you’ve found your way over to our blog section and even more happy to welcome you to our very first blog post! This post is the first of many that we will upload which will inform and educate you on anything and everything to do with Eames products and more. So make sure you stay tuned for all of that!
You may well be surprised to learn that one of the most significant and ingenious parts that made many of the Eames products possible is the humble little shock mount. This small, sometimes ignored, but massively important part helped to produce the iconic Plywood chairs and went on to be crucial for the fiberglass shell chairs as well as the iconic and luxurious, Eames lounge chair & ottoman. When you think about it, it’s actually quite amazing how such a small piece plays such a huge role. Especially considering that all this part does is soak up the stresses and strains of being sat upon!
It’s also remarkable that this piece originated from the automotive industry. Originally used as a shock absorber in Chrysler engines, who developed them in 1925, these resilient rubber discs were adopted and adapted for the furniture after it was realized they could prove extremely useful. It was found that they were efficient in connecting the plywood sections to the frame, creating a ‘floating’ and ‘light’ appearance.
FUN FACT! Whilst it was advertised as using ‘revolutionary’ radio wave technology to bond the shock mount to the wood, it actually used simple adhesive to make it stick. This is something that continued with the later fiberglass shells and lounge chair. This has also proven to be cheaper and much more effective.
The first appearance of the shock mounts was on the Plywood Chairs when they were displayed at the swanky Barclay Hotel Show, where they (and the chairs they were on of course) proved to be very popular pieces at the show. So much so, that George Nelson himself wanted to see the designer to talk to them about it! That's pretty fascinating, right?
This perfect little piece of rubber, from this point, was an easy go-to when needing something that could survive the stresses and strains of being sat on. The flexibility it offered along with its strength has meant it has been consistently used – with barely any changes – since their introduction in 1946. They are so strong that you can still find original mounts on some Plywood and Fiberglass chairs which makes them 50+ years old!
So the next time you sit on the Eames fiberglass chair, you will know the reason as to why it’s so stable and comfortable. The comfort of knowing how robust it is, mainly because of the efficient, yet humble little shock mounts. It’s quite astonishing how such a small piece makes such a big contribution to a much bigger puzzle.
We hope you enjoyed this week's blog!
Until next time, have fun browsing.
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