Charles and Ray Eames, who pioneered modern chair design in the 1940s and '50s, were responsible for some of the most innovative chairs of the 20th century. Their chairs were fabricated from wood, fiberglass, plastic, and metal mesh. Eames chairs have been widely imitated, but originals are highly sought-after by collectors because they are considered breakthroughs in both design and technology.

In 1940, Charles Eames met Ray Kaiser at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, which was also home to architect and Eames collaborator Eero Saarinen and furniture designer Harry Bertoia. The couple married a year later and moved to Los Angeles to continue their work in molded plywood.

By 1945, the couple had figured out how to create compound curves in molded plywood. One of their first pieces was a birch child’s chair and stool manufactured by the Molded Plywood Division of Evans Products — production was limited to just 5,000 pieces.

Evans also produced about 1,000 LCW chairs (which stands for Lounge Chair Wood) before the Eameses began a long collaboration with the Herman Miller Furniture Company, which produced and distributed a number of chairs for them, including the DCM (Dining Chair Metal), in which two pieces of plywood are secured to a solid-rod chromed frame with rubber shock mounts. In 1951, Herman Miller was selling 2,000 of these chairs a month (examples with wooden legs were less popular, making them more collectible today).

Molded fiberglass chairs in a variety of bright colors — with or without arms, with or without a rocking base — came next. Serious Eames connoisseurs look for chairs from this period, 1950-1953, with a "Miller-Zenith" label on their undersides. The ones with wooden bases (DAW, PAW) are less common and thus more sought-after than the ones with metal legs (DAR, LAX, LAR, RAR). Around the same time, the couple designed chairs made from sturdy wire mesh, with covers available in leather, vinyl, and fabric by designer Alexander Girard.

These were the chairs that the Eameses produced for the mass consumer. By 1956, well-heeled customers could order a Lounge Chair and Ottoman, whose molded rosewood plywood form embraced rich leather upholstery. The chair is still available today from Herman Miller in cherry and walnut.

In 1958, the couple launched a chair collection called the Aluminum Group, which included a desk chair and a lounge chair — the armless models of the latter are most prized today. In 1960, Eames designed several chairs and a trio of stools for the new Time-Life Building in New York. One was an Executive Desk Chair, the other an Intermediate Desk Chair, which was a smaller version of the Executive that did not sell as well, making it the more prized of the two today.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Steven Cabella's personal homage to Charles and Ray Eames. This site is as clean and visually appealing as the Eame… [read review or visit site]

Work of Charles and Ray Eames

Work of Charles and Ray Eames

This Library of Congress microsite is an overview of the postwar modern design work of Charles (1907-78) and Ray (1… [read review or visit site]

Herman Miller Consortium Collection

Herman Miller Consortium Collection

This website showcases several hundred pieces of furniture, held by thirteen museums, that were designed for Herman… [read review or visit site]



This archived overview produced by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts offers thumbnail sketches of the design moveme… [read review or visit site]

Buffalo Architecture and History

Buffalo Architecture and History

Chuck LaChiusa's wonderful guide to the architecture and history of Buffalo, NY, also happens to host an impressive… [read review or visit site]

The Mid Century Modernist

The Mid Century Modernist

Stephen Coles' really visual blog dedicated to the Modernist era of design from 1940 to 1970 (aka Mid-century Moder… [read review or visit site]



This beautiful site showcases the collection of Stanley and Polly Stone of Fox Point, Wisconsin, consisting of earl… [read review or visit site]

Kentucky Online Arts Resource

Kentucky Online Arts Resource

This huge online database from the Speed Art Museum is a rich trove of beautiful photos and reference information o… [read review or visit site]

Classic Modern

Classic Modern

Get a taste of how homes were lit in the 50s, 60s, and 70s with the Danish retro-style lighting designs featured on… [read review or visit site]

Other Great Reference Sites

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Recent News: Eames Chairs

Source: Google News

'Pawn Sacrifice' recalls Michigan firm's part in famous chess match, October 6th

The next day, Crooks asked a Herman Miller executive if he could arrange for an Eames chair to be provided for Spassky. Given the go-ahead, he worked with the company's New York showroom to locate an available Eames chair, and the New York Chess ...Read more

Eames Plastic Side Chair: dove la metti, sta (bene)!, October 6th

La sedia in polipropilene dei coniugi Eames, è la più desiderata e la più “replicata”. Scopritela con noi. Ha la forza iconica di un pezzo di culto ideato da due dei più importanti progettisti americani del Novecento e l'appeal di un tormentone di...Read more

How To Get The Look Of A $419 Eames Chair For Under $60
Huffington Post, September 29th

Ikea's newest catalog features three chairs in the Leifarne and Svenbertil collection that are reminiscent of the beloved Eames chair; and they're tagged at a fraction of the price. Sure, they don't carry the famous name. And true, they won't fool a...Read more

See midcentury-modern gems on Northwest Dallas home tour
Dallas Morning News, September 25th

An Eames chair anchors a corner of the family room. Separating the living and family rooms is a rectangular fireplace constructed of natural earth plaster. Clean burning and ventless, the gas unit provides warmth while keeping the spirit of the home's...Read more

Kanye West Offers “SWISH” Album Update
HipHopDX, September 24th

But I'm sitting there and I'm looking at the 350s and I'm thinking about the Submariner Rolex or thinking about the Eames chair. It's like how do you take this thing to a place where it's just the classic shoe? I feel like the Air Force One or the...Read more

Ikea's New Chairs Knock Off All Of The Mid&Century Greats
Co.Design, September 24th

Eames molded chairs are a timeless classic that's experiencing a full-out renaissance. Find me one respectable startup that doesn't have them surrounding the perimeter of a walnut conference table. But at $300 and up, it's hard to resist the temptation...Read more

Move Over, Eames: Reissued Furniture Classics Are Stealing the Spotlight
Wall Street Journal, August 20th

IN 1970, I worked as a stationery buyer at Georg Jensen, then a multilevel store on Fifth Avenue filled with china from Royal Copenhagen and other precious things. The company's large wholesale business in Scandinavian furniture—hugely popular at one ...Read more

The Eames' Iconic Molded Plastic Chair, Sawed in Half and Turned Into a Loveseat
Curbed National, March 12th

Improving upon an Eames chair is nearly impossible, but last year the North Carolina firm of Clark Nexsen ingeniously turned the DSR side chair into a two-person love seat for a design competition co-sponsored by Herman Miller, manufacturer of Eames ...Read more