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Navy Chair
Iconic Designs

Navy Chair

About the Design

One of the world’s most recognizable chairs was originally designed by an engineer to be lightweight, fireproof, waterproof and strong enough to withstand a torpedo blast. If this sounds like the description of an industrial object and not furniture, it’s because that’s what the chair was meant to be. That engineer was Wilton C. Dinges (1916–74), and in 1944, in conjunction with experts from the Aluminum Company of America, he built a chair made of aluminum in response to the U.S. Navy’s call for seaworthy seating, suitable for use on battleships as well as submarines during World War II. This innovation is what we now know as the Navy chair.


To prove to the Navy that his chair was indestructible, Dinges threw it from the eighth floor of a hotel in Chicago. The chair bounced but did not break or bend. He secured the contract to manufacture the piece at the Electrical Machine and Equipment Company, Emeco, the company he founded in 1940, in Hanover, Pennsylvania. Since 1944, hundreds of thousands of these chairs, known as Emeco 1006, or, simply, the Navy chair, have been produced by Emeco for use on battleships, aircraft carriers and submarines.


The Navy chair was meant to be utilitarian and functional, but it is undeniably beautiful as well. The chair’s aluminum silver body and spare design are pleasing, but the three vertical back slats and distinct curved indents that characterize its seat are the piece’s most recognizable features. Using soft recycled aluminum that requires a 77-step process to convert it into a material that is three times stronger than steel, the chair is also completely handmade by Emeco’s team of seasoned craftsmen. The furniture manufacturer has always been focused on sustainability and creating “things that last.” To that end, a single Navy chair is tested to last 150 years. 


In 1979, California businessman Jay Buchbinder purchased Emeco. In the 1990s, as the company struggled financially, Buchbinder’s son Gregg noticed that influential tastemakers like Giorgio Armani and hotelier Ian Schrager had been buying the Navy chair. Emeco’s legendary piece had appeared in Schrager’s Paramount Hotel in New York City, thanks to architect and designer Philippe Starck. Buchbinder targeted this untapped, high-end market, and his efforts helped turn the company’s fortunes around. 


The Navy chair has since found a home in a variety of spaces, from fine-dining restaurants to art galleries. Accordingly, it has also spawned countless knockoffs. The best way to identify an original? Look for a lightweight aluminum chair with three vertical back slats that could survive a fall from an eighth-story window.


Navy Chair

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Philippe Starck Emeco Hudson Bar Stool in Hand Brushed Stainless Steel 15 Avail
By Philippe Starck, Emeco
Located in Hudson, NY
Description and last 4 photos courtesy of Emeco: The Hudson, designed for the Hudson hotel in NYC, is Emeco and Starck’s first collaboration. Starck described the chair as “washing...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Stools

Materials

Aluminum

111 Navy Mini Chair by Coca-Cola
By Emeco
Located in Hanover, PA
The 111 Navy Mini is a story of innovation, turning waste plastic into something that lasts. Each stool is made of 111 recycled PET bottles. Like the original 111 Navy stool, these o...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Chairs

Materials

Plastic

Emeco 111 Navy Chair in Persimmon by Coca-Cola
By Emeco
Located in Hanover, PA
Coca-Cola and Emeco collaborated to solve an environmental problem: Up-cycling consumer waste into a sustainable, timeless, classic chair. Made of 111 recycled PET bottles, the 111 N...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Plastic

Emeco 111 Navy Chair in Snow by Coca-Cola
By Emeco
Located in Hanover, PA
Coca-Cola and Emeco collaborated to solve an environmental problem: Up-cycling consumer waste into a sustainable, timeless, classic chair. Made of 111 recycled PET bottles, the 111 N...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Plastic

Emeco Navy Chair in Brushed Aluminum with Bar Back by US Navy
By Emeco
Located in Hanover, PA
First built for use on submarines in 1944, the Navy chair has been in continuous Production ever since. With the famous 77 step Process, our craftsmen take soft, recycled aluminum, h...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Aluminum

Emeco Navy® Chair in Polished Aluminum & Black Upholstery by US Navy
By Emeco
Located in Hanover, PA
First built for use on submarines in 1944, the Navy Chair has been in continuous Production ever since. With the famous 77 step Process, our craftsmen take soft, recycled aluminum, h...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Aluminum

Emeco 111 Navy Chair in Grass by Coca-Cola
By Emeco
Located in Hanover, PA
Coca-Cola and Emeco collaborated to solve an environmental problem: Up-cycling consumer waste into a sustainable, timeless, Classic chair. Made of 111 recycled PET bottles, the 111 N...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Plastic

Emeco 111 Navy Chair in Flint by Coca-Cola
By Emeco
Located in Hanover, PA
Coca-Cola and Emeco collaborated to solve an environmental problem: Up-cycling consumer waste into a sustainable, timeless, classic chair. Made of 111 recycled PET bottles, the 111 N...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Plastic

Emeco 111 Navy Chair in Red by Coca-Cola
By Emeco
Located in Hanover, PA
Coca-Cola and Emeco collaborated to solve an environmental problem: Up-cycling consumer waste into a sustainable, timeless, classic chair. Made of 111 recycled PET bottles, the 111 N...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Plastic

Emeco 111 Navy Chair in Charcoal by Coca-Cola
By Emeco
Located in Hanover, PA
Coca-Cola and Emeco collaborated to solve an environmental problem: Up-cycling consumer waste into a sustainable, timeless, Classic chair. Made of 111 recycled PET bottles, the 111 N...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Plastic

Emeco 111 Navy Chair in Beach by Coca-Cola
By Emeco
Located in Hanover, PA
Coca-Cola and Emeco collaborated to solve an environmental problem: Up-cycling consumer waste into a sustainable, timeless, classic chair. Made of 111 recycled PET bottles, the 111 N...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Plastic

Emeco Navy Chair in Brushed Aluminum and Black Upholstery by US Navy
By Emeco
Located in Hanover, PA
First built for use on submarines in 1944, the Navy chair has been in continuous production ever since. With the famous 77 step Process, our craftsmen take soft, recycled aluminum, h...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Aluminum

Emeco Navy® Chair in Polished Aluminum w/ Bar Back by US Navy
By Emeco
Located in Hanover, PA
First built for use on submarines in 1944, the Navy Chair has been in continuous Production ever since. With the famous 77 step Process, our craftsmen take soft, recycled aluminum, h...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Aluminum

Emeco Navy® Chair in Brushed Aluminum by US Navy
By Emeco
Located in Hanover, PA
First built for use on submarines in 1944, the Navy Chair has been in continuous Production ever since. With the famous 77 step Process, our craftsmen take soft, recycled aluminum, h...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Aluminum

Emeco Navy Chair in Polished Aluminum by US Navy
By Emeco
Located in Hanover, PA
First built for use on submarines in 1944, the Navy Chair has been in continuous Production ever since. With the famous 77 step Process, our craftsmen take soft, recycled aluminum, h...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Aluminum

Emeco Navy Chair in Polished Aluminum and Ash by US Navy
By Emeco
Located in Hanover, PA
First built for use on submarines in 1944, the Navy chair has been in continuous Production ever since. With the famous 77 step Process, our craftsmen take soft, recycled aluminum, h...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Aluminum

Emeco Navy Chair in Brushed Aluminum and Ash by US Navy
By Emeco
Located in Hanover, PA
First built for use on submarines in 1944, the Navy chair has been in continuous Production ever since. With the famous 77 step Process, our craftsmen take soft, recycled aluminum, h...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Aluminum

Emeco Navy Chair in Brushed Aluminum and Cherry by US Navy
By Emeco
Located in Hanover, PA
First built for use on submarines in 1944, the Navy Chair has been in continuous Production ever since. With the famous 77 step Process, our craftsmen take soft, recycled aluminum, h...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Aluminum

Emeco Navy Child’s Chair in Brushed Aluminum by US Navy
By Emeco
Located in Hanover, PA
First built for use on submarines in 1944, the Navy Chair has been in continuous Production ever since. With the famous 77 step Process, our craftsmen take soft, recycled aluminum, h...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Aluminum

Emeco Navy® Chair in Polished Aluminum & Cherry by Us Navy
By Emeco
Located in Hanover, PA
First built for use on submarines in 1944, the Navy Chair has been in continuous Production ever since. With the famous 77 step Process, our craftsmen take soft, recycled aluminum, h...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Aluminum

Emeco Navy® Chair in Polished Aluminum & Walnut by US Navy
By Emeco
Located in Hanover, PA
First built for use on submarines in 1944, the Navy chair has been in continuous Production ever since. With the famous 77 step Process, our craftsmen take soft, recycled aluminum, h...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Aluminum

Emeco Navy Chair in Brushed Aluminum and Walnut by US Navy
By Emeco
Located in Hanover, PA
First built for use on submarines in 1944, the Navy Chair has been in continuous Production ever since. With the famous 77 step Process, our craftsmen take soft, recycled aluminum, h...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Aluminum

Original Aluminum and Perforated Vinyl Emeco "Navy" Desk or Armchair, 1965
By Emeco
Located in Miami, FL
Vintage navy chair rendered in aluminum frame and original perforated vinyl upholstery by Emeco, original contract piece for the Federal government Navy.
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Office Chairs and Desk Chairs

Materials

Aluminum