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Thursday, September 13th, 2012 Classic chair built to stand up to the toughest conditions has long-lasting style

A Brief History of Emeco’s 1006 Chair

Becky

Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
3 Comments » | Published in furniture, Mid-century Modern, modern inspiration  |  3 Comments

When I received my Design Public newsletter titled “Get the Look: Industrial Chic” this a.m., it got me thinking about one my very favorite chairs. If you know me at all, you know I have a major chair fetish, so giving a certain chair my attention is a major compliment. Anyway, the chair of which I speak is the Emeco 1006  Chair (a.k.a. Navy Chair). Here’s a little more information on its rise to popularity.I am cribbing this verbatim from emeco.com:

In 1944, Wilton Carlyle Dinges founded the Electrical Machine and Equipment Company (Emeco) in Hanover Pennsylvania utilizing the skills of local craftsman. During WWII the U.S government gave him a big assignment, make chairs that could withstand water, salt air and sailors. Make chairs lightweight and make them strong, build them for a lifetime. Aluminum was the obvious choice, engineered for practical purposes, designed by real people. Emeco named the chair with a number: 1006, some people call it the Navy chair. We still call it the Ten-o-six. Forming, welding, grinding, heat-treating, finishing, anodizing- just a few of the 77 step it takes to build an Emeco chair. No one else makes chairs this way. No one can. It takes a human eye to know when the process is done right, and it takes human hands to get it that way. Our goal. Make recycling obsolete and keep making things that last.

They have this super cool set of drawings for the original chair posted on their site too:

What I didn’t realize was that until Ian Schrager hired Philippe Starck to re-design the Paramount Hotel in 1990, you could only find the chair at police stations, hospitals, prisons and other government sties. Because the chairs last for several lifetimes, sales were in a real slump; no one ever needed a replacement chair! However, while Schrager was making hotels cool, Starck was making the 1006 Chair cool:

When the CEO of Emeco and Starck met in the hub-bub of ICFF, it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship; Starck designed the Hudson Chair for Emeco:

as well as the Kong Chair:

Emeco has added using recycled material to their list of sustainable moves, the original move being that you never have to throw the 1006 Navy chair away, as its function and form never falter. Be on the lookout for the latest chair, the Broom Chair, designed by Starck, which is made of waste plastic and comes in an array of bodacious colors:

I will be adding the Broom Chair to my Wish List!

About Becky:
Hi, I'm Becky. I live in Atlanta. Besides acting as the "Editorial Director" here on Hatch, you can find me spewing lots of design opinions and tips over at Houzz. Make me happy -- leave a comment!

About Becky

has written 1584 post in this blog.

Hi, I'm Becky. I live in Atlanta. Besides acting as the "Editorial Director" here on Hatch, you can find me spewing lots of design opinions and tips over at Houzz. Make me happy -- leave a comment!

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  1. Dan Fogelson says:

    September 14th, 2012 at 4:23 am (#)

    Dear Becky:
    Thank you very much for posting our story!
    Real Emeco chairs are handmade in the US of the best materials – with as much recycled content as possible. They last forever.
    Emeco is under attack by Restoration Hardware. RH has a huge new promotion on cheap Asian knock offs of our Navy Chair. The cheap chair looks just like the Emeco chair, but it’s made poorly and is not guaranteed. Consumers need to know that they are buying the knock off so they can make their choice- and they need to know that they are supporting off shore manufacturing.
    We appreciate your support of Emeco.
    Regards, Dan Fogelson, VP Emeco. dan@emeco.net

  2. Becky says:

    September 14th, 2012 at 11:41 am (#)

    Hi Dan, I had forgotten that the other thing that had Emeco chairs on my mind yesterday was a tweet from the blogger Swiss Miss, disgusted at the blatant copying by Restoration Hardware – it moved me to tweet her back in agreement. I noticed RH doing the same thing with Arne Jacobsen’s iconic Swan Chair a year or so ago as well and was appalled. Thank you for pointing this out!

    Becky

  3. scot herbst says:

    September 18th, 2012 at 8:21 am (#)

    Thankyou Becky! Awesome article, love to see the nod to this classic American made icon.

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