Listed for sale is the holy grail of Eames lounge chairs. It is a black leather lounge with swiveling ottoman from 1956, the first year of production and more so, what most believe to be the first month...perhaps less. These early examples are fabulously rare and can be identified by a few distinct characteristics.
The set was purchased together and has been paired all of its life. While the grain varies slightly, the set is indeed original to one another and this can be verified by noting the details of production on both chair and ottoman.
Early on, it was decided to use boot glides on the ottoman. Within months, however, complaints came in about customers losing these boots and therefore a change was made during the same year to begin threading the ottoman underneath to allow for screw-in glides like the chair. This ottoman has no drilled threads underneath and was therefore made for boot glides.
Another detail was the swiveling ottoman. Allegedly, the feature was considered dangerous as children would spin around and possibly fall. Therefore... this too was changed, but far earlier than versions with just boot glides alone. It is believed that the swiveling ottoman was discontinued in the very earliest month perhaps weeks of production.
The earliest examples also had three holes in the armrest brackets for three screws. Within a short period of time also, they decided only two were needed.
This example has all of these rare characteristics and can date it relatively precisely to the very beginning of 1956. Along with this, the chair features early round steel clips and down filled leather cushions.
They are soft and properly plump for a chair of this vintage. No tears or rips are present on any of the cushions. These are down filled cushions and are beautifully worn.
The rosewood shells are in great shape aside from minimal visible wear as noted in photos. The finish is lovely and holding up well.
Bases and Metal
The aluminum bases are in great condition. Paint is all there.