The 1946 Eames DCM Chair was the abbreviated name representing the Dining Height (D) Side Chair (C) on Metal (M) Rod Base. The chair was part of a small series of chairs and tables which effectively kick started the career of Charles and Ray Eames into notoriety.
History would soon coin the phrase ‘Eames Chairs’ largely based on the design and success of the first group of chairs including the DCM alongside the lounge version LCM as well as the wooden leg versions the DCW and LCW. The series were a result of a long-standing collaboration between Charles Eames and the Evans Plywood Company which had worked together, from the same location in Venice CA, throughout the war years.
The design of the series may seem classical and relatively tame by today’s standards but imagine the post war period from 1946 when designs of new materials and shapes were beginning to reach the public domain. They were perhaps a pre-cursor of the decade to come which had an almost unlimited feel of expression in US design, the 1950’s.
The Eames DCM Plywood Chair would be made available in a range of plywood veneer woods and colours. Herman Miller, whom had been involved in the distribution of the chairs for Evans Plywood Division, purchased the manufacturing operation and all licenses in 1949, literally paving the way for one of the design worlds most potent partnerships.
Such was the popularity of the DCM and lounger LCM version, they have remained on the Herman Miller catalog to this day whereas most of the plywood furniture items were obsolete before the end of the 50’s. As well as the natural wooden versions, upholstered variants were also made through the generations.
The DCM (Dining Chair Metal) was the first eames furniture design to generate the 'Eames Chair' tag. Part of a group of four plywood variants released to the marketplace in 1946, the DCM accounted for around 75% of all sales from these designs. Perhaps part of its appeal was that, despite using a new material in the design, it was not a radical change towards the future, but more of a first tentative step. Our video showcases a very early Evans made DCM from 1946. Herman Miller took over distribution a year later and then full production from 1949.
|Seat Height||18”||45.72 cm|
|Top||5 Layers of Molded Plywood, glued and with Rubber Shock Mounts|
|Base||Welded Steel Rod Base|
|Feet||Screw in Domes of Silence, Boot Glides, Nylon Glides|
Generations were rarely predefined or premeditated, they were more often than not a natural evolution of the product or transition of what was available.
It is human instinct to pigeon hole to help define what we own but it was doubtlessly unintended. Our interpretation of generations is only to help collectors, buyers and sellers to verify, date and value what they have. We only focus on marketed versions and not prototypes.
The circular attachment sections of a 1st Gen Evans DCM
1st Generation - Evans Plywood Products
The easiest way to determine the 1st generation is to look out for a Label From the Evans Plywood Company.
If there is no label then the metal frame of the chair is the best location to view.
Look at the back section that attaches to the backrest part of the chair. The first generation frames always have circular attachment points.
The rods of the metal frame are also solid and heavy and all have screw in feet called 'domes of silence'
The 'domes of silence' screw in feet
1st Generation - Evans Plywood Products - Continued
The early first generation labels include the Evans Medal, Medal Strip, Paper and foil labels.
The frames were available in Black or Zinc plating.
The shock mounts were thicker than those found on recent models or shell chairs.
The model abbreviation was often hand written onto the base of the seat part (assumed for assembly)
2nd gen DCM - Note the shape change of the connectors
2nd Generation - (1st Herman Miller Gen)
The first Herman Miller Manufactured generation sees a few changes
Look at the backrest connectors and note the round connectors have been reshaped to an oval and where the spine joins is no longer tapered.
The shock mounts that HM used also had 4 holes punched into them which are visible.
The feet of the chair remains the domes of silence and the frame remains as solid cast.
The estimated years is from 1951 to 1953
3rd Gen (2nd Herman Miller) Showing Boot Glide Feet
3rd Generation - (2nd Herman Miller Gen)
The third generation (2nd Herman Miller Gen) only consists of a change of feet.
The domes of silence are replaced with the rubber and alu boot glides that push onto the leg.
Everything remains the same, same connectors, same solid frame, same shock mounts with 4 holes.
Differing wood types also become available including Rosewood.
The estimated years is from 1954-1960
The 4th Gen introduced nylon feet still used today
4th Generation - (3rd Herman Miller Gen)
The fourth generation (3rd Herman Miller Gen) involved a changing of the metal frame and the feet once again.
The boot glides of the previous years didn't turn out to be a long term solution due to them falling off and splitting.
New nylon glides were constructed with a metal insert that fitted so tightly into a new lighter tube (no longer solid) leg they are extremely hard to remove. The shockmounts remained large but lost the 4 punch holes.
The estimated years is from early 60's to late 80's
Note the 5th generation small shock mounts
5th Generation - (4th Herman Miller Gen)
The fifth generation (4th Herman Miller Gen) saw a change in the shock mounts.
The mounts were reduced in thickness to a size more associated with the shell chairs
The visual size difference of the mounts helps to age the chairs but many this age will also have labels
The estimated years is from early early 90's till late 00's
6th & current gen with smaller oval connectors and cut in frame ends.
6th Generation - (5th Herman Miller Gen)
The sixth and current generation (5th Herman Miller Gen) has seen a re-shaping of the frame
The oval back rest connectors have been shortened and there is now a 'cut in' to the connector instead of a rounded tube
The range includes new wood types including a light ash and Santos Palisander, brought in to emulate the vintage Rosewood
The estimated years is from late 00's till current