Introduced in the fall of 1946, the Eames DCM (Dining Chair Metal) quickly became an American design classic. Its seat and back are molded to fit the contours of every body, and its attached rubber mounts allow the chair to flex and shift. This provides comfort rarely found in non-upholstered seating.
The path to creating this chair began in the early 1940s when the Eameses first experimented with molding plywood into complex curves. Their investigation would have profound effects on the design world. Charles and Ray’s discoveries led to a commission from the US Navy to develop plywood splints, stretchers, and glider shells, which were produced throughout World War II. Once the war ended, the Eameses applied what they had learned to their initial goal: mass-producing high-quality, affordable chairs.
Charles and Ray created the basic tooling necessary for manufacturing the seating in quantity. Their original objective had been to make a single-shelled chair, but the plywood couldn’t withstand the stress at the curve where the seat and back met. The Eameses, who believed that “the honest use of materials” was essential to any project, eventually opted for separate seats and backs. The process eliminated extraneous wood, which reduced the weight and visual profile of the chair and established a basis for modern furniture design.
The Eameses made the DCM as an alternative to the DCW’s wooden legs. The chairs, manufactured by Herman Miller and Vitra, exhibit the same durability, comfort, and aesthetic integrity today as they did when first designed in the mid 1940s.