The Hang It All is the least boring, most fun coat hanger

Coat hanger was updated in 2012, but for purists the multicoloured ball design from 1953 reigns supreme

Hang it All, Charles and Ray Eames, 1953. Photograph: Vitra

Lucky the child who has a Hang it All for their little coats and school bag. Now a design classic, the cheerful hanger was designed in 1953 for children by American couple Charles and Ray Eames, two of the most important, and massively influential 20th century designers.

It was Ray who decided the wooden balls should be multicoloured to make a coat stand that was less boring looking and more fun to use. There are 14 varnished balls on the slim steel frame – and unusually for something as utilitarian as a clothes hanger, it looks good when not in use; out of the children’s room it is a colourful addition to any hallway.

Transformations

The design has undergone many transformations in the past half-century – not the wire shape which remains the same, but the colourways, perhaps to fit into more restrained minimalist interiors.

In 2011, three limited-edition finishes were released (by Vitra, the official manufacturer in Europe): red metal with spruce balls, a black version with walnut balls and an all black frame and ball version.

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In December 2012 to mark what would have been Ray’s 100th birthday, Vitra and the Eames Office released three new versions of the coat rack in red, green and white – the frame as well as the balls being painted. As sophisticated as these later colours are, for purists it has to be the original multicoloured design.