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ETR Coffee Table (Elliptical Table Rod Base)

c. 1950

In its first appearance in a Herman Miller catalog the ETR (or Elliptical Table Rod Base) is succinctly and accurately described as “a long, low coffee table.” Utilizing the same materials and base as its diminutive forebear, the LTR, the ETR is distinguished by a distinctive and dramatic top—an 88.5-inch-wide elongated oval that bears no uncertain resemblance to a surfboard. Despite living close to the heart of Californiaʼs burgeoning surf culture (and the table’s enduring colloquial nickname), there is no direct evidence that the designers were directly inspired by that association. Rather, the shape is optimized to offer a maximum stable, usable surface area with just two LTR bases. Introduced in 1951, the table featured a five-ply plywood construction with a black micarta laminated top (bases were available in either plated zinc or painted black). The ETR was discontinued in 1964, but resurrected in 1994 as mid-century designs once again came into favor.

  • Manufacturer: Herman Miller, Inc.
  • Medium:Black Micarta top, Birch core, zinc base
  • Dimensions:10 x 89 1/4 x 29 1/2 in. (25.4 x 226.7 x 74.9 cm)
  • Design Date:1951
  • Item:2023.6.1