Charles and Ray Eames Molded Plywood Leg Splint, circa 1942

Buyer Protection Guaranteed

About

Charles and Ray Eames molded plywood leg splint circa 1942 manufactured by Evans Products, molded plywood division.
During World War II, the U.S. Navy called upon Charles and Ray Eames to create a lightweight, inexpensive leg splint. The resulting design is a highly sculptural yet functional device that could be mass-produced and, being modular, conveniently and inexpensively transported. Access to military technology and manufacturing facilities allowed the Eameses to perfect their technique for molding plywood, which they had been working on for several years. In its three-dimensional, biomorphic form, the leg splint suggests the Eames' subsequent, highly influential plywood furniture designs.

Details

  • Date of Manufacture
    1942
  • Period
    1940-1949
  • Condition
    Excellent
    Dimensions
    3.5 in. H x 42.5 in. W x 8 in. D
    9 cm H x 108 cm W x 20 cm D
  • Seller Location
    New York, NY
  • Number of Items
    1
  • Reference Number
    13011180453354

About Charles and Ray Eames (Designer)

Charles Eames and Ray Eames were the embodiment of the inventiveness, energy and optimism at the heart of mid-century modern American design, and have been recognized as the most influential designers of the 20th century.

     As furniture designers, filmmakers, artists, textile and graphic designers and even toy and puzzle makers, the Eameses were a visionary and effective force for the notion that design should be an agent of positive change. They are the happy, ever-curious, ever-adventurous faces of modernism.

     Charles studied architecture and industrial design. Ray (née Beatrice Alexandra Kaiser) was an artist, who studied under the abstract expressionist Hans Hofmann. They met in 1940 at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in suburban Detroit (where Charles also met his frequent collaborator Eero Saarinen and the artist and designer Harry Bertoia) and married the next year.

     His technical skills and her artistic flair were wonderfully complementary. They moved to Los Angeles in 1941, where Charles worked on set design for MGM. In the evenings at their apartment, they experimented with molded plywood using a handmade heat-and-pressurization device they called the “Kazam!” machine. The next year, they won a contract from the U.S. Navy for lightweight plywood leg splints for wounded servicemen — they are coveted collectibles today; more so those that Ray used to make sculptures.

     The Navy contract allowed Charles to open a professional studio, and the attention-grabbing plywood furniture the firm produced prompted George Nelson, the director of design of the furniture-maker Herman Miller Inc., to enlist Charles and (by association, if not by contract) Ray in 1946. Some of the first Eames items to emerge from Herman Miller are now classics: the “LCW,” or Lounge Chair Wood, and the “DCM,” or Dining Chair Metal, supported by tubular steel.

     The Eameses eagerly embraced new technology and materials, and one of their peculiar talents was to imbue their supremely modern design with references to folk traditions. Their “Wire Chair” group of the 1950s, for example, was inspired by basket weaving techniques. The populist notion of “good design for all” drove their “Molded Fiberglass” chair series that same decade, and also produced the organic-form, ever-delightful “La Chaise.” In 1956 the “Lounge Chair” and ottoman appeared — the supremely comfortable plywood-base-and-leather-upholstery creation that will likely live in homes as long as there are people with good taste and sense.

     Charles Eames once said, “The role of the designer is that of a very good, thoughtful host anticipating the needs of his guests.” For very good collectors and thoughtful interior designers, a piece of design by the Eameses, the closer produced to original conception the better, is almost de rigueur — for its beauty and comfort, and not least as a tribute to the creative legacy and enduring influence of Charles and Ray Eames.

About the Seller

1stdibs seller since 2005

Typical response time: 1 hour

Located in New York, NY

More from this Seller

1970s Brutalist Steel Sculpture
1970s Brutalist Steel Sculpture
Steel, Wood
1970s Brutalist steel sculpture on original wood block base. Highly patined steel with bronze like finish, sculpture is of high quality and executed to a high artisan level. Wood base s...
Brazilian Rosewood Sculpted Bowl, circa 1960s
Brazilian Rosewood Sculpted Bowl, circa 1960s
Rosewood
Brazilian rosewood sculpted bowl, circa 1960s.
Ben Seibel Brass Ribbed Box for Jenfredware
Ben Seibel Brass Ribbed Box for Jenfredware
Ben Seibel
Metal, Brass, Cork
Ben Seibel brass ribbed box for Jenfredware, circa 1950s in original condition. Brass-plated cast metal box with original cork lining. Original sticker present. Ben Seibel (1918-1985...
Matthew Ward TOTEM Vase
Matthew Ward TOTEM Vase
Matthew Ward
Ceramic
Matthew Ward, born in 1976 in Omaha, NE, is a graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA (2003). He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY and continues a studio practice ...
Matthew Ward Polka Dot Bowl
Matthew Ward Polka Dot Bowl
Matthew Ward
Ceramic
Matthew Ward, born in 1976 in Omaha, NE, is a graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA (2003). He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY and continues a studio practice ...
Jens Quistgaard Solid Teak Staved Bowl
Jens Quistgaard Solid Teak Staved Bowl
Jens Harald Quistgaard
Early Dansk Denmark staved teak bowl, designed by Jens Quistgaard in the late 50s with 4 floating ducks mark. Marked: "DANSK DESIGNS", "DANMARK", "IHQ", and "STAVED TEAK". Measures abou...
Trio of Danish Rosewood Bowls by Laurids Lonborg for Illums Bolighus
Trio of Danish Rosewood Bowls by Laurids Lonborg f...
Laurids Lonborg
Rosewood
Trio of Danish rosewood bowls by Laurids Lonborg for Illums Bolighus, circa 1960, Denmark.
Gunnar Nylund for Rörstrand Relief Stoneware Jug
Gunnar Nylund for Rörstrand Relief Stoneware Jug
Gunnar Nylund
Ceramic
A stoneware jug with reliefs made by Gunnar Nylund in the 1950s for Rörstrand, Sweden.
Carl Aubock Paperweight Chain
Carl Aubock Paperweight Chain
Carl Auböck
Brass
Carl Aubock, Paperweight Chain
Yellow Polkadot Bowl
Yellow Polkadot Bowl
Matthew Ward
Ceramic
Matthew Ward, born in 1976 in Omaha, NE, is a graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA (2003). He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY and continues a studio practice ...
Klotzwrk "Cloud" Jewerly Box
Klotzwrk "Cloud" Jewerly Box
KLOTZWRK
Brass, Oak
Klotzwrk "Cloud" jewerly box with hidden interior drawer and lidded top.
Green Polkadot Vase
Green Polkadot Vase
Matthew Ward
Matthew Ward, born in 1976 in Omaha, NE, is a graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA (2003). He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY and continues a studio practice ...