RAR (Rocking Armchair Rod)
designed 1948–50; made about 1950–53
Designed by Charles Eames (American, 1907–1978), Designed by Ray Eames (American, 1912–1988), Manufactured by Herman Miller Furniture Company (active 1923–present), Molded by Zenith Plastics Co.
Object Place: Zeeland, Michigan, United States; Object Place: Gardenia, California
68.58 x 62.86 x 59.69 cm (27 x 24 3/4 x 23 1/2 in.)
Medium or Technique
Molded polyester fiberglass composite, steel and birch rockers, rubber shock mounts
The 1940s and 1950s (Gallery 336)
One piece molded fiberglass body shaped for human form. Steel legs attached to plastic seat with rubber shock mounts. Network of stretchers attached to legs, crossing at sides, back and center. Curved wooden rockers bolted onto legs. Note that “Rod” in the title of this model chair refers to the metal rods in the base; the chair could be purchased with a variety of different base structures.
In the early 1940s, designers and newlyweds Charles and Ray Eames pioneered a production method to simultaneously bend plywood in more than one direction, using their homemade Kazam machine.
With the RAR, the Eameses continued their efforts to design comfortable and affordable furniture using new industrial materials. They originally designed the RAR to be shaped in metal and sprayed with a neoprene coating (a synthetic rubber) for comfort. However, by the time the chair went into production in 1950, the manufacturer, Herman Miller Furniture, was able to make the seat in polyester, reinforced with strands of fiberglass and easily molded into an enveloping bucket shape. Customers could order the lightweight plastic chair in a range of bright, cheerful colors and with a variety of leg options in tubular steel or bent wire.
This text was adapted from Ward, et al., MFA Highlights: American Decorative Arts & Sculpture (Boston, 2006) available at www.mfashop.com/mfa-publications.html.
Gift of Edward J. Wormley
Used with permission. Herman Miller, Inc.® Eames®