Executive (Time-Life) Chair by Eames for Herman Miller

Stephen Coles

The images posted today by Barry Smith of his beloved Eames Executive Chair capture every angle, every sumptuous curve, coming as close to pornography as photos of furniture can come. I don’t blame him for his idolization. Charles and Ray’s design for the Time-Life Building in New York City is, for me, the epitome of the 1960s office chair: thick buttoned cushions wrapped in leather and trimmed with chrome. The glorious news for those of you lusting along with me is that Barry has six more where this came from, and they’re for sale.

Thanks to the Vintage Eames pages at Eames Office, you can enjoy a 1966 brochure in PDF form, promoting the “Eames Executive Office Group”. At that time the chair was known as the “3474 Tilt-Swivel chair”. Here’s the glorious cover with photography by fashion giant HIRO (love the organizer unit with telephone mount).

Herman Miller Brochure (1966)

Like those from the brochure, Barry’s models sit on a four-castor base. The newer models shown at Herman Miller, DWR, and Eames Collector were updated in 1990 with five legs. Also known as the Time Life Lobby Chair, more images can be found at Architonic and Artfact.

Eames Executive Time-Life Chair

Here are a couple of beautiful castor-less Lobby Chairs that were sold by Esch de Vere, London:

Time Life Lobby Chairs

The Time Life and Death of The Eames Executive Chair

Above: the chair made a cameo in 2004’s “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers”.

The following bit of trivia from the Herman Miller site is apt, following Bobby Fischer’s recent passing:

In 1972, chess grand master Bobby Fischer specifically requested the Eames executive chair while he competed in the World Chess Championship in Reykjavik, Iceland. He said he could concentrate well in the chair. When opponent Boris Spaasky saw it, he refused to play until he got one, too.

Update, Feb. 23: Barry Smith’s collection of Time-Life chairs for sale:




See also:
» Time-Life Chair on eBay
» 3474 Tilt-Swivel Chair on eBay
» Eames Executive Chair on eBay
» Eames Soft Pad Management Chair at DWR (a similar design that came a few years later)

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  1. 01.31.08 Abbey H

    Love the chair…and would love to have a job someday where I can request a special chair. I also think I could concentrate well in this chair.

  2. 05.03.08 Vintage Eames

    Good day. You have posted a pdf from our Vintage Eames web pages. We haven’t posted our Terms of Use page, so I guess we have to expect that folks might “borrow” from us. Would you at least please put up a link, a shortcut, to the Vintage Eames web pages? These are a subset of http://www.eamesoffice.com and the shortcut to the Vintage Eames pages themselves, where you got the vintage brochure you posted, is http://www.vintage-eames.com

  3. 05.03.08 Stephen Coles

    We always try to link back to our sources. I’ve added a link to the Vintage Eames page. Thank you so much for making these resources available!

  4. 04.04.09 — Melinda Rahall

    Oh my gosh. You wont believe this, but I have that built in phone…exact same one! So, we live in DC and West Virginia (back and forth) and my husband has this stout old rancher house in WV. It was built custom by some old coal baron, I think in the mid-late 60’s. The only room I haven’t really touched yet is the kitchen. It has the groovy old above cabinet flourescent light features, and completely paneled walls. Not an inch of drywall to be found. (well, i have painted the paneling). But the one thing my husband refuses to let me touch, is that dang old phone, that’s built into the paneling. So I can’t just unplug it, or yank it out, would leave a big hole in the wall. The cord is retractable, and covered in FABRIC. I wonder if Vintage-Eames has any information about the phone? Oh…..and your desk is very cool….:)

  5. 08.16.12 — N

    Hi Stephen. Not sure to reach you and been couple years since this post, was going to ask you if you know anyone disappointed in not being able to get Time Life chair when you were selling couple of yours. I have a white one that is incredible shape, amazing leather and need to fin out when Dream Cow leather started being used. Don’t think I ever saw one in white sold used anywhere. I have that $4k version, late 80s production and lightly used, looking for a good home, any leads appreciated as this kind of rare find usually makes people happy. This is the white chair Roger Sterling in Mad Men sits behind that amazing oval tulip table he uses as a desk.

    gre ener shop at gm ail dot com

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