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Tables! Tables! Tables!

Molded Plywood Table with Tubular Aluminum Base

1944

This is the first table that Ray and Charles Eames made together. It features a molded plywood tabletop and tubular aluminum base—an early instance of the designers’ interest in combining materials. The Eameses began experimenting with molded plywood in 1941. While they did not originate this production process (using heat to bend plywood into curving forms dates to the mid-19th century), they contributed significantly to its refinement and popularization. The Eameses first directed attention toward plywood chairs and leg splints, which they designed for the US Navy. They had recently finalized the design of the splint when they turned their attention to tables, and borrowed a technique developed for that project of cutting out corners to create a gently folded edge, also seen here. The table’s base connects underneath its top at five points, and the top could be detached from the base for convenient shipping and storage. This particular example was used for decades in an Oklahoma dentist’s office. The table was made by industrial manufacturer Evans Products’ Molded Plywood Division, which the Eameses ran at the time.

  • Manufacturer: Office of Charles and Ray Eames, Evans Products Company, Molded Plywood Division
  • Medium:Birch plywood, aniline dye, aluminum
  • Dimensions:29 x 42 x 29 3/4 in. (73.7 x 106.7 x 75.6 cm)
  • Design Date:1944
  • Item:2019.1.35
Curatorial Notes
This rare, complete molded table was likely made after Ray and Charles made splints, but before they experimented with the molded elephant. The tubular aluminum base has the sensible and straightforward qualities found in later Eames furniture. The base can be disassembled to store and ship flat—a design constraint they were working with during the years of fabricating splints for the US Navy.

There is a stamped circular Evans Products logo on the underside.