Last summer, I posted about the legendary Emeco Navy® Chair. At the time, I was a bit obsessed, and after much ogling, I won one on ebay. Now it lives in our dining room!
The chair came from a guy not far from the Emeco factory in Hanover, Pa (also the home of Utzsnacks). I liked his creativity with packing materials – he used gallon iced tea containers to take up extra space in the box. Most were Rutter’s, but there were a couple Turkey Hill ones in there, too.
This is a vintage chair, so, it’s not in mint condition. The finish shows wear and it has a few dings, but most noticeably, the back of the chair has the word “PLASTICS” etched into it. I’m sure this reduces it’s “value”, but I like that the chair has physical evidence of it’s history. I only wish I knew a bit more about it’s provenance. Anyone have any ideas?
What about you? Do you own any vintage pieces that have mysterious markings that hint at it’s previous life?
So, I was excited to find out that the company that has produced it for the past 65 years, is located only three hours from here, in Hanover, Pennsylvania!
Emeco, Inc. first started producing the No. 1006 chair during World War II, for use on Navy ships and submarines. The design was developed according to stringent requirements that the chairs be extremely light, non-magnetic (so as not to interfere with Naval instruments), and both fire and corrosion-proof. Another stipulation was that the chairs not be able to be dissasembled for use in weapons manufacturing by the enemy. The result was a practically indestructible, one-piece aluminum chair, that has clearly stood the test of time. Form + Function = Classic Design!
I admire Emeco for continuing to make this chair in essentially the same way as they did back then – their 77-step process has each chair passing through the hands of over 50 people from start to finish! I am dually impressed by their lack of complacency. They have not been content to rest on their past successes, but rather, have collaborated with designers such as Philippe Starck, Frank Gehry, and Ettore Sottsass (at the age of 90!), to come up with new designs consistent with their vision. In addition, they now make their chairs out of 80% recycled (40% post-consumer) aluminum. But, with their lifetime quality guarantee, the folks at Emeco believe that their products have classic staying power and hope they will never end up in the recycling bin.
On the Emeco website, there’s a really sweet series of documentary videos that gives a nice peek into the people and processes that go on in the factory everyday. If you like the chairs, I’d suggest checking them out.
Perhaps this is old hat to you, but hey, I’m easily excited.