The humble little shock mount

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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