Leg Splint thumbnail 1
Leg Splint thumbnail 2
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Leg Splint

ca. 1942 (designed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

During the Second World War Charles (1907–78) and Ray Eames (1912–88) experimented with plywood. They intended to create moulded plywood furniture that was suitable for mass production and even built their own bag moulding device (a device that moulds using a bag and the application of fluid pressure) in their flat.

In 1942 the US Navy commissioned the Eameses to design a leg splint that was lightweight, could float, and was stackable for transportation. They designed this moulded plywood splint that was shaped to support a human leg, with holes cut-out so that the splint could be held in place. Around 150,000 of the splints were manufacture by the Evans Plywood Company, Molded Plywood Division, who, after the war, also manufactured the Eameses plywood furniture.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Moulded 5-ply birch plywood
Brief Description
Leg splint, designed by Charles and Ray Eames, manufactured by Evans Products Company, Molded Plywood Division, moulded birch plywood, Los Angeles, USA, about 1942
Physical Description
Moulded 5-ply birch plywood leg splint. The splint is moulded as a single piece and shaped to fit a human leg. It is curved to enclose the foot at one end and curved in the opposite direction at the other. There are holes around the edge that would have been used to strap the splint to the leg. The splint still has its original brown paper wrapping.
Dimensions
  • Length: 107.5cm
  • Width: 19.5cm
  • Height: 10.5cm
Marks and Inscriptions
'S2-1790' (Marked on the inside of the splint with the stock number)
Gallery Label
  • Text from Plywood: Material of the Modern World (15 July-12 November 2017) PLYWOOD LEG SPLINT American designers Charles and Ray Eames experimented with plywood during the Second World War. In 1942 the US Navy commissioned them to design a lightweight leg splint that was stackable and could float. They produced this plywood splint, made from five veneer layers each cut to a slightly different shape. Up to 150,000 splints were manufactured, and the Eames’s work on this project greatly influenced their furniture design. LEG SPLINT About 1942 Designed by Charles (1907–78) and Ray Eames (1912–88) Manufactured by the Evans Products Company, Molded Plywood Division Los Angeles, USA Moulded 5-ply birch plywood V&A: W.31-2016 THE MANUFACTURE OF THE EAMES LEG SPLINT, FROM CUTTING VENEERS (ABOVE) TO MOULDING (BELOW) Photographs taken at the Evans Products Company, Molded Plywood Division © 2017 Eames Office LLC (eamesoffice.com) Text from Values of Design, V&A Gallery, Design Society, Dec 2017 - August 2019 Moulded Plywood Plywood is made by gluing together thin layers of wood, each layer oriented 90 degrees to its adjacent layer. As plywood grew into a major industry in the 1900s, designers found the material attractive as it was cheap, available, and could be steam-bent into a variety of shapes. During the Second World War, Charles and Ray Eames experimented with moulding plywood to produce leg splints. It was subsequently used in many popular furniture designs of the 1950s and 60s. Leg Splint Charles and Ray Eames USA, 1941-1942 Given by Christopher Monkhouse(2017)
  • Text from Plywood: Material of the Modern World (15 July-12 November 2017) PLYWOOD LEG SPLINT American designers Charles and Ray Eames experimented with plywood during the Second World War. In 1942 the US Navy commissioned them to design a lightweight leg splint that was stackable and could float. They produced this plywood splint, made from five veneer layers each cut to a slightly different shape. Up to 150,000 splints were manufactured, and the Eames’s work on this project greatly influenced their furniture design. LEG SPLINT About 1942 Designed by Charles (1907–78) and Ray Eames (1912–88) Manufactured by the Evans Products Company, Molded Plywood Division Los Angeles, USA Moulded 5-ply birch plywood V&A: W.31-2016 THE MANUFACTURE OF THE EAMES LEG SPLINT, FROM CUTTING VENEERS (ABOVE) TO MOULDING (BELOW) Photographs taken at the Evans Products Company, Molded Plywood Division © 2017 Eames Office LLC (eamesoffice.com)(2017)
Object history
This leg splint was included in ‘Values of Design’ at the V&A Gallery, Design Society in Shenzhen, China in 2017.
Summary
During the Second World War Charles (1907–78) and Ray Eames (1912–88) experimented with plywood. They intended to create moulded plywood furniture that was suitable for mass production and even built their own bag moulding device (a device that moulds using a bag and the application of fluid pressure) in their flat.



In 1942 the US Navy commissioned the Eameses to design a leg splint that was lightweight, could float, and was stackable for transportation. They designed this moulded plywood splint that was shaped to support a human leg, with holes cut-out so that the splint could be held in place. Around 150,000 of the splints were manufacture by the Evans Plywood Company, Molded Plywood Division, who, after the war, also manufactured the Eameses plywood furniture.

Bibliographic Reference
Wilk, Christopher. Plywood: A Material Story. London: Thames & Hudson / V&A, 2017
Collection
Accession Number
W.31-2016

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record createdNovember 17, 2015
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