The chair was commissioned in the 1940s by the United States Navy in World War II for use on warships: the contract specified that "it had to be able to withstand torpedo blasts to the side of a destroyer". Together with Alcoa experts, Emeco's founder, Witton C. "Bud" Dinges designed the 1006, a chair so durable that it far exceeded the Navy's specifications: When Dinges threw one chair out of a sixth-floor window at a Chicago furniture show, it survived undamaged except for a few scratches. Most wartime chairs are still in perfect condition and are occasionally available on the U.S. civilian market as military surplus from mothballed Navy ships.
While it employed 300 workers and produced thousands of chairs per month for the Navy in World War II, Emeco was less effective in adapting its unchanged line of aluminum furniture to the civilian market after the war. As of 2006, it has 35 workers and an output of about 1,000 chairs per month. Nonetheless, the Emeco 1006 has become an icon of American design, appearing regularly in design magazines, fashion layouts and television series such as Sex and the City and House M.D. In the 2000s, the chair was the basis of a new line of aluminum furniture designed by French designer Philippe Starck.
The manufacturing process used for the chair, unchanged since 1944, is a two-week, 77-step process that involves twelve parts being welded together, then being ground to create a seamless one-piece look. A proprietary heat-treatment process contributes to the chair's strength, which has a life expectancy of 150 years and comes with a lifetime guarantee.
- Jeffrey Hogrefe. "Peace Work: Emeco, the maker of the classic Navy chair, enlists Philippe Starck to complete its transformation from military supplier to high-fashion furnisher.". Metropolis Magazine. Retrieved 2006-09-25.
- Levent Ozler (2006-03-01). "Philippe Starck Conceives a New Icon For Emeco". Dexigner. Retrieved 2006-09-25.
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