The Eames Dash Ninety-Nine Collaboration with Alexander Girard Posted August 22, 2019 by Daniel Ostroff
By 1966, two million Eames Fiberglass Shell Chairs had been produced. Herman Miller marked this milestone by introducing a new Eames model, the Dash Ninety-Nine, making creative use of the many exclusive Herman Miller textiles designed by Alexander Girard.
In keeping with the Eames commitment to service and performance, the original product literature emphasizes the durability and functionality of the chair—features intrinsic to every Eames design. Before these chairs were sold to the public they underwent rigorous tests in Herman Miller’s testing labs, which were established at the instigation of Charles and Ray Eames. The product literature reads:
“The Dash Ninety-Nine uses this basic fiberglass reinforced plastic shell and vacuum molds it to a pad of Hopsak, Decor Royal Naugahyde, and one-inch foam. The foam tapers to one-half inch in the arms. Once the pad, foam, and edge have been vacuum molded to the chair, the pad cannot be removed. Hopsak, 100% Nylon, Scotchgard finished, is used for the seat for its breathing ability. It provides a cool and comfortable surface for sitting, long wear, and excellent cleanability. Decor Royal Naugahyde is used on the arms and the inside back.
“Herman Miller upholstering quality is readily apparent with hidden, double-strength stitching of Hopsak to Naugahyde and Eames vinyl edge to the entire chair pad. The Eames vinyl edge protects the most abused portion of the chair as well as preventing furniture marring.
“When you choose a Black shell the edge is a matching black. Neutral shell, the edge is neutral. Alexander Girard has selected the fabrics for the Dash Ninety-Nine and the recommended Hopsak/Naugahyde combinations which are both subtle and vibrant and welcome the task of accent or harmony.
“The basic fiberglass shell has as the tensile strength of 9,000 psi and fibers are not exposed even after 15,000 abrasive test cycles. The shell offers high resistance to stains, strong seating support, and minimum maintenance.
“The upholstered portion of the Dash Ninety-Nine withstands 30,000 drops of a 100-pound weight from a 5″ height with no pad delamination or puddling. Part of the exceptional comfort of the Dash Ninety-Nine is due to the rubber disc shock mounts chemically bonded to the shell. Chair bases are bolted to these shock mounts. No bolts go through the shells and a resilient rubber, with a thousand-pound pull-off strength, connects the base and shell at four locations.
“Chair bases undergo similar rigid quality standards. The swivel base, for instance, traveled 15,000 135 degree arcs without wear and withstands a 2500 pound static pad test. Chair glides have a 185-pound minimum twist out strength. A test chair was dropped 15,000 times on its glides without failure. The glides also survived a 500-hour salt spray test without corrosion.”
Two pages of detailed 1966 product information, including the varieties of color upholstery materials, are in the gallery below.