Eames Rocking Chair

eames rocking chair

The Eames Rocking Chair, officially known as the “Eames RAR Rocking Chair,” is an iconic piece of furniture designed by the husband-and-wife design duo, Charles and Ray Eames. It was first introduced in 1950 as part of their experimentation with materials and techniques for creating comfortable, molded chairs. Here are some key features and details about the Eames Rocking Chair:

Design: The Eames RAR Rocking Chair features a distinctive, molded plastic shell seat that is contoured to fit the curves of the human body, providing ergonomic comfort. It has a sculptural and organic design that embodies the mid-century modern aesthetic.

Materials: The shell of the original Eames Rocking Chair was initially made of fiberglass-reinforced plastic, which was groundbreaking at the time. However, in later years, the material was changed to polypropylene for environmental and safety reasons.

Base: The chair sits on a set of wooden rockers, which are attached to the bottom of the shell. The rockers allow for gentle rocking motion, making it a versatile and relaxing chair for various settings.

Versatility: While the Eames Rocking Chair is often associated with nurseries and baby rooms due to its soothing rocking motion, it is a versatile piece of furniture that can be used in living rooms, bedrooms, and other spaces.

Variety: Over the years, the Eames Rocking Chair has been produced in various colors, allowing homeowners to choose one that complements their interior decor. It has also been made with different base options, including metal, depending on the manufacturer.

Legacy: The Eames RAR Rocking Chair is considered an iconic design that represents the mid-century modern movement. It is highly sought after by collectors and design enthusiasts.

Manufacturer: The chair was originally produced by Herman Miller in the United States and Vitra in Europe. Both companies continue to manufacture and sell authorized versions of the Eames Rocking Chair.

The Eames Rocking Chair remains a symbol of innovative design, comfort, and aesthetic appeal. Its timeless design and ergonomic qualities have made it a beloved piece of furniture that fits seamlessly into modern interiors.

Tips for Buyers

When buying an Eames Rocking Chair, whether it’s an original vintage piece or a contemporary reproduction, there are several factors to consider to ensure you’re getting a high-quality and authentic chair.

Here are some tips for buyers:

Is it easy to identify vintage Eames chairs produced by different manufacturers?

Early Eames Rocking chairs from Zenith Plastics may lack markings but could bear the black and red chequerboard label. Cincinnati Milacron chairs feature a crescent ‘C’ with a star, while Summit Plastic’s chairs display overlapping triangles, an ‘S,’ or an ‘S’ within a circle. Chairs from 1951-53 had red rectangular labels; later, a raised Herman Miller logo emerged.

Should a buyer look for particular details on an Eames rocking chair?

For collectors seeking an investment-grade vintage Eames Rocker, look for the rope edge, full chequerboard label, original mounts, hardware, base, and rockers. Early wooden runners were slim and round, while later ones were thicker. Check for shock mount bleed-through and seat area darkening. Lower-priced options include later models on reproduction bases.

How can a buyer tell if the shell and legs on an Eames chair are original to each other?

Check shock mounts for consistency and wear patterns. Multiple indentations may indicate part swapping. Assess the wooden rockers for age-appropriate wear.

How important is it to match an original Eames shell to a vintage rocker base?

It’s rare to find an all-original vintage Eames rocking chair. Most have vintage shells on reproduction bases due to base wear. Reproduction base quality varies; source from Europe for better quality. Vintage shock mounts can be used with contemporary bases, increasing chair value if mounts are original.

How does the price structure work for a vintage Eames chair?

Prices vary based on condition and rarity. A quality vintage Eames rocking chair starts around £450 on a reproduction base. Rare-colored shells can reach £750. Zenith shells from 1951-1953 can cost up to £1000 on reproduction bases. All-original early rope-edged chairs start at £2000.

When is it worth paying a lot for an Eames chair?

Invest in all-original Zenith rope edge chairs for rarity and investment. Cheaper options are equally high in quality.

Do Eames chairs make good long-term investments?

Yes, Eames chairs, including the Rocker, have seen price increases and continue to be in high demand.

How concerned should a buyer be about the condition of an Eames chair?

Condition is vital. Ensure good condition to protect your investment. Minor wear is acceptable but should affect the price. Check for fiberglass fractures and base quality.

What considerations and potential pitfalls should you look out for when buying an Eames chair?

Check shock mounts, fixings, and fiberglass for integrity. Pay attention to labels, especially on early Zenith shells.