Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Charles Eames (1907-1978) studied architecture at Washington University and later settled in Venice, California, where he designed some of the most innovative furniture of the post-War modern period with his wife Ray Kaiser (1912-1988). Although they are most widely known for the Eames Chair with its moulded back and seat, they also designed buildings, films, exhibitions and books, including more than 50 projects for the IBM, including the IBM Pavilion for the New York World's Fair.
Profoundly influenced by the dramatic events occuring throughout their lifetime, like the Depression, World War II and the significant growth of industry within America and the World, the Eames' designed furniture for basic human needs, "What works is better than what looks good," Ray said.
The plywood leg splint was manufactured to government contract for the wartime U.S. Navy, and is the first plywood product to exhibit a fully three-dimensional form. Prior to this date manufacturers had only been able to achieve simple two-dimensional forms to their products. Borne from wartime austerity, the humble leg splint therefore represented a revolutionary technological breakthrough in manufacturing techniques. At the war's close in 1945, the Eames' retooled the Evans manufacturing plant to adapt the production techniques of the splints to that of furniture production, and in March 1946 were able to unveil their innovative plywood furnishings at New York's Museum of Modern Art.