CHILDREN’S FURNITURE

DATE - 1945

It is charming and representative of the kind of people they were that the first furniture that Charles and Ray successfully designed and mass-produced was furniture for children. The child’s chair, stool, and table were designed and produced using the wartime tooling they developed for leg splints and airplane parts. The chairs were made in two parts-the seat back extended downward as a brace, which was attached by a single rivet to the one-piece seat itself, molded with compound curves that folded down as its legs.

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Practically featherweight, so that even small children could lift and move this furniture, the Eameses added an extra thoughtful touch. Each chair back had a cutout hole, in the shape of a heart, a place where each chair could be easily grasped, even by a tiny hand. The stool was basically the same form as the seat of the chair, but without a back. The table was a slightly larger version of the stool. All three parts, the chairs, the stools, and the tables, could be nested into one another and thus stacked for easy shipping and storage.

Charles and Ray made 5000 of them on an assembly line at the Evans Products Company, a trial run. While they exhibited the children’s furniture along with their other molded plywood products both in December 1945 and in June 1946 at the Museum of Modern Art, this first batch were only offered in a few shops, run by friends of Charles and Ray Eames.

Herman Miller, who entered into an exclusive distribution agreement with the Eameses and the Evans company for the other Eames molded plywood products, declined to take on the children’s furniture.  It did not fit conveniently into the usual groupings of living-room, dining room, or bedroom furniture.

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