From the first plywood series of furniture released in 1946, CTM was the abbreviated name for the Coffee (C) Table (T) with a Metal (M) base. The Eames CTM coffee table consisted of a circular top made purely from 5 layers of molded plywood and a chrome leg base frame.
The circular top of the Eames CTM table was designed with a pronounced edge leading into a slight incline towards the center. Not only did this provide a visually interesting detail but also a means to keeping placed items from being knocked off or falling from the table.
The 1946 plywood series of tables and chairs were the first adult Eames designs to be released to the market place, as a joint venture between the Eames Office and the Evans Molded Plywood Company. The series would also be the first to use the concept of utilizing varying bases with identical tops in order to create variety and choice. The metal leg CTM coffee table was matched with the LCM (Lounge) and DCM (Dining) chairs, and their equivalent wood based models were the CTW, DCW and LCW.
The Evans made tables were initially available in 3 natural veneers and two aniline dyed colors of red and black. Once Herman Miller took over ownership and production of the series in 1950 they added a further wood finish and the ability to choose a black frame as well as the original chrome. The table would have a fairly short lifespan and ran only until 1957 when it was discontinued. Fans of the design would have to wait some 50 years until it was re-issued by Herman Miller in 2007.
|Top||5 layers of molded plywood (7 on post 2004 re-release)|
|Top Finish||Birch, Walnut, Calico Ash - Later Oak, White Ash, Santos Palisander|
|Base||Chrome or Black Powder Coated|
|Feet||Domes of silence, Push on boots, nylon floor glides|
Generations in any furniture design are entirely open to interpretation and are almost better being described as tweaks and natural developments than fully blown 'generations' as most were not intended. Many are improvements, changes due to components or new finishes and materials. But there is benefit to trying to define them, as it helps the collector, buyer and seller to recognize what they have, date and of course value the piece they own.
The feet of the Eames CTM table on the early Evans and very first Herman Miller made tables were the 'domes of silence' before being replaced with push on boots (image courtesy of D Rose Modern)