The Eames Plywood Elephant was part of a group of Plywood animals designed in 1945 as part of the experiment into the use of the material in collaboration with the Evans Molded Plywood Division. The designs and fabrications were made in conjunction with other children's plywood products including the Nested Chair, Table and Stool.
Despite the 1945 prototypes having a wonderful aesthetic beauty, it was unfortunate that commercialization would not be possible, largely due to the Evans Plywood Division not having the know how nor resources to market such a product.
It took some 62 years to pass until the realization of the Plywood Elephant was made into reality. Although sadly not within the lifetime of Charles and Ray Eames, it was sympathetic to the original design and a quality reproduction of their early works. The 2007 release was made solely by Vitra in Europe and consisted of 2000 limited edition numbered pieces split equally into either Maple or red aniline dye. Each Elephant of the production was given a unique serial number, found on the underside label. The reason for the release was to celebrate what would have been Charles Eames' 100th birthday.
Following the run it was very unfortunate that the design was converted into polypropylene plastic which, although the material of the time, was not in tandem with the essence of the design. Since 2017 however and Vitra begun to re-make the Plywood Elephant in a Cherry wood.
The original 1945 Elephant prototypes were made using Birch. The 2007 release utilized both natural and dyed Maple and the later editions have Cherry.