Student Research Projects

Charles and Ray Eames Create Stylish Plywood: Plyformed Chairs and Their Relation to Suburban Consumers, 1941-1959

Student Cory M. Reeves '14
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department History
Course HIST 460: Senior Thesis Seminar


In the 1940s and 1950s, Charles and Ray Eames used technology to produce a new class of furniture, mass-produced molded plywood chairs. They developed the technology they used before and during World War II with the intentions of mass-producing high quality furniture for middle-class American consumers. They used their modernist designed home as a laboratory to prefect these experiments in seating. The Eames marketed their chairs directly to suburban consumers with the hope of ushering in a revolution in mass-produced quality furniture. They failed at changing the American way of life, but they created some of the best-designed chairs of the twentieth century and became icons of the era.


Undergraduate Research Conference Grant, 2014


State of Virginia's annual Phi Alpha Theta Conference, March 2014


First prize in U.S. History at Virginia's annual Phi Alpha
Theta Conference, March 2014.

Selected as best student research project in the Division of Social Sciences at Virginia Wesleyan College, 2013-14.