Business at War: “Artist In Industry”

Posted February 13, 2014

“When war came, Eames decided to design and make a splint…”

Fortune magazine

October 1944

Excerpt:  “When war came,  Eames decided to design and make a molded-plywood splint on the same principles that had won him acclaim for the rump appeal of his stark but comfortable chairs.  With the help of his wife, Ray Kaiser, abstract painter and sculptor, he began his experiments.  The result was a shallow trough, curved to fit the back of the leg and hip and flared at the ankle to to allow room for the heel.  The possibilities of the Eames splint aroused the interest of officers at the San Diego Naval Air Station and Naval Hospital, some of whom had just come back from early Pacific battles.  On their recommendation, the Navy in November, 1942, ordered a trial of 5,000 of the splints.

Eames immediately took the opportunity to carry out his idea of the artist in industry by gathering a group of architects, sculptors and designers to form a staff under the general direction of himself and John Entenza, editor of Arts & Architecture. In the group were Margaret Harris, English stage-set designer; Marion Overby, sculptor and former assistant to Carl Milles; Gregory Ain, progressive architect; and Herbert Matter, Swiss photographer and designer whose work has included Fortune covers.”