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Torpedo-proof chair

The Emeco 1006 Navy chair was originally designed to survive a torpedo hit. In continuous production since 1944, it has found a second life as the go-to chair for interrogation scenes in film.

Emeco chair

Matthew Richards [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

You have seen this chair, I guarantee it. More than a million of them have been made, and the chair is nearly indestructible. One story goes that in order to prove its sturdiness to the navy, the designer threw it out of an eighth storey window. Chairs from the 1940s are still in use, and there’s not a lot of furniture that has lasted that long.

The 1006 is made of aluminium and takes 77 distinct manufacturing steps (see the video below). It has a groove for your ass that makes it very uncomfortable to sit in. Because of its prestigious design history it has become a bit of a fashion item for upscale restaurants, and because of its durability it has also become a very common Hollywood prop.

If you have an interrogation scene, the chances are good that the person is sitting in an Emeco chair. Neo in The Matrix, the Joker in The Dark Knight, Westworld, Battlestar Galactica, Watchmen… it’s all the same chair.

Categories: Arts & recreation Economics & business Fashion & design Military Screen & stage

The Generalist

I live in Auckland, New Zealand, and am curious about most things.

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