“One thing we don’t do on a ship is use color that is at all yellowish green—you know, anything that will remind a traveler of the condition of his stomach.” Dorothy Marckwald, maritime interior designer.
The SS United States was built after World War II to break all records in size, speed, strength, and safety. Designed to be a passenger ship which could be requisitioned by the Navy in time of war, it also had to be entirely inflammable. The only wood used in the ship could be found in the piano (Steinway refused to build aluminum instruments) and the chopping block in the kitchen. Interior fittings and furniture were designed by the 1950s female design firm of Smyth, Urquhart & Marckwald. Most of the fabrics they used were treated with a fireproof fiber called Dynel (materials were tested for flammability by setting on fire full-sized stateroom models). Auctioned off in 1984, the furniture and fixtures of the SS United States have found their way into museums and private collections around the world. We’re happy to offer two pieces for sale, a green aluminum chest of drawers and this Deco red leather armchair, from the Officers' Quarters. Built to last (and not to slide across the cabin of a storm-tossed ship).