This unusual Alpha Shell “Egg Chair” is believed to have been made by EMI for the members of The Beatles. Another example can be seen in Tom Hanley’s photographs of John Lennon and Yoko Ono in their Tittenhurst house.
The chair is very similar to those designed by Lee West of California. They have integrated stereo speakers on either side internally, allowing the person sitting in the chair to relax and listen to music in an stress-free environment.
It’s thought that record label EMI had these chair made specifically for the members of The Beatles, EMI being short for Electric and Musical Industries. EMI had signed The Beatles in 1962 and released many of their most important singles and albums.
Each of these chairs is said to be made from plastic, though it’s almost certainly glass reinforced plastic – more commonly known as fiberglass. There is a latex tube surrounding the open aperture of the chair, and the upholstery consists of six cushions that are shaped to fit into a specific part of the egg-shaped interior.
The chair sits on a 27 inch (89cm) diameter circular base with four spherical rollers, and it has speakers installed on either side of the interior to provide an optimal listening experience for the person sitting in the chair.
Known as Stereo Alpha “egg chairs,” these were very popular and wildly futuristic in the 1960s, they remain popular in furniture design circles today and similar style chairs made a memorable appearance in the 1997 film Men in Black starring Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith.
The specific egg chair you see in this article is now being offered for sale from the estate of the late Hilary Gerrard, formerly the Business Manager of Ringo Starr. It has a price guide of approximately $3,000 – $4,200 and you can visit the listing here if you’d like to read more or register to bid.
Images courtesy of Bonhams
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.