How to Tell Authentic Eames

Written by charong chow
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How to Tell Authentic Eames
Look at the details of your lounge chair and ottoman to tell if it is an authentic Eames. (luxury chairs image by araraadt from Fotolia.com)

The Eames lounge chair and ottoman reflect mid-century style and are literally museum pieces -- which are displayed at New York's Museum of Modern Art. The first lounge chair and ottoman set was designed as a gift from Ray and Charles Eames to Hollywood film director Billy Wilder, who made of "Some Like it Hot." Authentic Eames designed furniture are all manufactured by Herman Miller; anything else is a reproduction. By looking for a few details, you can easily spot a fake.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Compass

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Ask the seller if they are licensed retailer of Herman Miller furniture. If you are buying the furniture second-hand, ask if there is any documentation, like a receipt, from a Herman Miller retailer.

  2. 2

    Measure the size of the lounge and ottoman, which have always been manufactured in the same dimensions. An authentic Eames lounge chair has a 15-degree tilt and 6-inch thick foam cushions. It should be 32 inches tall, 32.75 inches wide with a 32.75 inch depth. The ottoman is 17.25 inches tall, 26 inches wide and 21.5 inches in depth.

  3. 3

    Check the screws and bolts. Screws are carefully hidden on a real Eames. Screws and bolts are usually quite visible on a fake.

  4. 4

    Count the legs on your chair and ottoman. A true Eames has five legs on both pieces, while many fakes only have four.

  5. 5

    Notice the wood and the materials. Herman Miller uses high quality 7-ply wood, such as cherry, walnut or santos palisander. The leather is upholstered individually on each cushion. Many fakes use one piece of leather to upholster the entire chair, making it all connected. The armrests on a real Eames are carefully upholstered with thick piping, and most fakes do not have this detail.

  6. 6

    Turn over the chair to look for a Herman Miller and Eames stamp, production number and serial number. Without this, you cannot authenticate your furniture.

Tips and warnings

  • The Herman Miller and Eames stamp is critical to authenticating all Eames furniture. When in doubt, you can contact Herman Miller with your questions.
  • Do not pay an unknown seller large amounts of money for an Eames lounge and ottoman without real proof.
  • Check the Better Business Bureau if you are dealing with a store.

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