by A.E. Weisgerber
It came into being quickly, Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen prepared the way. Their catechism was injection molding: tulips, rosewood, walnut. They erected gateways to shepherd its arrival. It wasn’t until Saarinen’s death in 1961 that devotion to plastics evolved—from his void, a uniform piece of plastic emerged from a single-shell design.
Saarinen forced thousands, millions, all the virgin poly-propylene pellets through a 440-degree Fahrenheit barrel, then a chilled mold. Time from pellet to chair was miraculous: less than one minute, confirmed.
3:16th of an inch thick, praise God.
In Peter Creed’s collection of worldwide family portraits, the Costa family in Havana, Cuba possesses one. The Caven family in California displays its many forms.
A simple chair, without class, so lightweight. Everyone finds strength and belonging by helping themselves to a seat— even the dying.
Though original molds cost upwards of a million each, after a few years of production these chalices disperse to third-world manufacturers for tens of thousands, flooding the market with less expensive clones.
Its gospel is a dog-eared pamphlet cobbed from engineering theses in caged warehouse rooms near chemistry labs. Ceramic cup rings stamp its scripture, as new keepers document its birth at the Taizhou Liqiao Hangxing Plastics and Mold factory. It is the proof, the accounting, the way of the whole supply chain. At 30-cents per 700, it will salvage ledgers, fill coffers, and provide stable, single-form seating for a world without end.
A.E. Weisgerber has recent work in SmokeLong Quarterly, The Collapsar, Entropy Magazine, and Shotgun Honey. Her story “Sleeping Beauty: Markson Fangirl” was a finalist for Best Small Fictions 2016. She lives in New Jersey. http://anneweisgerber.com.