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Monday, April 14, 2014

The Do-Nothing Machine and other Eames toys

Charles and Ray Eames believed in taking pleasure seriously. Linda Cervon, who grew up in their neighborhood, recalled that Charles Eames would suspend ropes from the ceiling of his studio so neighborhood kids could swing on them, knocking down cardboard structures he had built.

Charles and Ray are known for their furniture designs and architecture, but they were serious toymakers too. One of the most interesting of these was their solar Do-Nothing Machine. Designed in 1957, it was described in Life magazine as a "twirling, tinkling toy run by sunlight." It was made of aluminum strips and silicon cells which generated enough electricity to set the machine in motion. The Eames Office originally asked Cal Poly for help on the project, but instead the university sent a team to see what the couple had already achieved. As it turned out, this toy that did nothing at all was a forerunner of today's solar powered machines.

Charles Eames with the Do-Nothing Machine

Notice at 1:31 in the video that follows that there was a part of the Do-Nothing Machine shaped very much like one of the Eames Walnut Stools.

The Do-Nothing Machine in action - Uploaded Aug 1, 2013 by the Eames Office

Take a look at several other toys created by Charles and Ray Eames, and let the child in you be delighted.

Plywood elephant

Bird costume

Giraffe costume

Rooster costume

Kids playing in an Eames construction

Charles Eames working on a design assembled with pipe cleaners

Prototype of The Toy

Ad for The Toy

Charles Eames and a House of Cards set

Charles and Ray Eames making a film featuring their creations

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