Servel, Inc., the sole manufacturer of gas absorption refrigerators since 1926, introduced the Wonderbar, a compact portable refrigerator designed by industrial designer and Servel VP of Product Planning, Donald Dailey. The Wonderbar, made almost completely of Bakelite plastic, was designed to get refrigerators into rooms other than the kitchen. Servel also later introduced the first automatic ice-maker in its full-sized refrigerator, also styled by Dailey and his staff.
Donald Earl Dailey (1914-1997) was born in Minneapolis, MN. He studied marketing and engineering at the University of Toledo (1934-1936) and design at the Toledo Museum School of Design (1936-1937). He began his career in 1937 as design director for Harold Van Doren and Associates of Toledo, and opened a second office in Philadelphia for Van Doren in 1940. He established his own firm in Philadelphia in 1946. In 1950 he became product manager at Servel, Inc. In 1952, he was named their Vice President in charge of Product Planning, and is credited with inventing the term "product planning" and its role for designers in corporations. He left Servel in 1955 to re-establish Don Dailey Associates Inc. in Evansville, IN . Don was an early member of SID and the last president of ASID in 1964 before it became part of IDSA.
Servel was founded in 1902 as the Hercules Buggy Works, and became a manufacturer of electric refrigerators (the name is short for "Serve Electrically"). In 1925, Servel purchased US rights to a new AB Electrolux gas-heat driven absorption refrigerator invented by Swedish engineering students Carl G. Munters and Baltzar von Platen.