Upholstered Chair, SS United States

This beige upholstered chair with its deeply curved back was among the furnishings in the Duck Suite, the first-class luxury accommodations that included three upper-deck cabins aboard the ocean liner SS United States. Known as the most luxurious of the 14 first-class suites on the ship, these rooms were typically chosen by the United States’ most well-to-do passengers, from movie stars to British royalty. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, regular passengers on the rival ship Queen Mary, switched their loyalties to the United States during the mid-1950s and booked the Duck Suite, which was their favorite lodging at sea for a time.
Like all of the furniture on this flagship of the United States Line, the chair had to be crafted of flame-resistant metal. Launched in 1952, the ship was filled with aluminum selected by the ship’s architect, William Francis Gibbs, who designed the vessel to be as fireproof as possible. And while the massive amounts of aluminum did make the United States one of the safest ships ever launched, the metallic, modern décor also gave it a special feel unlike any other ocean liner. The upholstered furniture and artwork throughout the ship added texture and color to interior spaces that epitomized 1950s and 1960s design: sleek, modern, and practical.
date made
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
textile (overall material)
ferrous metal (overall material)
overall: 30 1/2 in x 24 in x 24 in; 77.47 cm x 60.96 cm x 60.96 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Transfer from US Department of Commerce, Maritime Administration (through R. J. Blackwell)
related event
Postwar United States
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
Sports & Leisure
On the Water
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


Add a comment about this object