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Image Product Designer Datesort icon Summary Key Words
Berliner Gramophone
Berliner Gramophone Berliner, Emil 1896

An improved version of the Gramophone, a talking machine invented by Emil Berliner (1851-1929) in 1888, and made since 1894 using a patented hard rubber disc, was introduced by Berliner's US Gramophone Company. In 1901, Berliner formed the Victor Talking Machine Company with Camden, NJ inventor Eldridge R. Johnson who improved the disc quality of what was now called a phonograph "record" system. Berliner's system was hand-cranked and lacked a constant pitch, sounding (to Johnson) like a "partly-educated parrot with a sore throat and a cold." Johnson added a spring-driven motor. The new system revolutionized the phonograph industry, because the "records" were compact for storage and durable enough to avoid normal damage during usage, and the sound quality was much improved. Thomas A. Edison (1847-1931), of course, had invented the original phonograph in 1877, using a wax cylinder on his first model M of 1888. His Model A of 1898 still used a steel cylinder covered with tinfoil, and by the Model F of 1911, his was the last company still using the now-outdated cylinder system. The new 1901 Victor product used an image of a dog, "Nipper" listening to "his master's voice" on a phonograph. The image was from an 1898 painting by English artist Francis Barraud, sold in 1899 to Berliner's Gramophone Company Ltd. in London, and patented in 1900. American rights were sold to the Victor Talking Machine Company. The company was purchased by RCA in 1929, and they acquired rights to the trademark which was used extensively until 1968. But because of its popular appeal, RCA, now Thomson Electronics, re-introduced it in 1990, adding a smaller canine companion, "Chipper", representing the company's semiconductor-based future in electronics.

Emil Berliner, phone, US Gramophone Company
First Dial Telephone
First Dial Telephone Strowger, Alman Brown 1897

The first dial telephone was introduced in 1897 by the Automatic Electric Company, founded in 1891 by Alman Brown Strowger, a Kansas undertaker. In 1889, convinced that the Bell "central exchange" was diverting his incoming calls to a rival embalmer, Strowger invented the automatic switchboard system, which was controlled by a number-dialing system. The system was first installed in 1892 in LaPorte, IN. In Strowger's 1897 model telephone, however, the rotary dial had not holes, but depressions similar to gear teeth, along about 170 degrees of the edge of the dial disc. The telephone, of course, was invented by Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) in 1876. The first commercial exchange was opened in 1878 (with 12 users), and in 1879, the multiple switchboard system was invented by engineer Leroy B. Firman, making the telephone a commercial success with 250,000 users by 1890. Up until 1894, when Bell's original patents expired, Bell Telephone Company had a virtual monopoly on the market. They had brought successful infringement suits against at least 600 would-be competitors. The company had, in 1896, just introduced the "Common Battery" system, with a power source at a central exchange. Before that, one had to hand-crank the phone to provide enough power for a call. A connection could still only be made by giving the name of the person to be reached to a telephone operator. This is what Strowger changed. Strowger soon became a strong competitor of Bell. He introduced a tabletop dial model in 1901, which was cleaner in design than the Bell model. In 1902, he introduced a wall telephone with a dial disk, this time with actual finger holes, but still only 170 degrees around the disk. By 1905, a "long distance" finger hole had been added. The last known Strowger model in in 1907. Strowger patents presumably expired in 1914, and he or his company is never heard from again. Not until 1919 did Bell introduce the dial system.

Alman Brown Strowger, Automatic Electric Company, phone
Curved Dash Oldsmobile
Curved Dash Oldsmobile Durant, William C. 1901

The first US gasoline-powered auto to be produced in quantity, the 425 Runabout, was introduced by Olds Motor Works, founded in 1897 by Ransom E. Olds. Features included the first "speed meter," invented last year by a Mr. Jones, and a new gracefully-curved dashboard. The 7 hp., 650 lb. car was priced at $650, and 425 were built the first year. It was produced until 1907, and some were used by the US Postal Service as the first mail trucks. As a promotional stunt, test driver Roy D. Chapin drove one from Detroit to New York, although there were only 200 miles of hard-surfaced roads in the US. In 1903, R.E. Olds built a race car, the Pirate, and driver H.T. Thomas set the first land speed record in its class at Daytona Beach, FL at 54.38 mph. Ordinary cars could go no faster than 30 mph. The bullet-nosed, low design of the Pirate set the style for Indianapolis race cars, starting in 1911, for many years. In 1903, Buick was founded by William C. Durant, a race car driver, and the first Buick appeared. Durant founded General Motors in 1908 as a holding company to buy out various car manufacturers, including Cadillac (in 1909), Oldsmobile and Oakland (later called Pontiac). Ford demanded $8 million, and Durant declined to buy. In 1910, Durant left active management of General Motors, and founded Chevrolet. He engaged Louis Chevrolet, a Swiss-born racing driver, to design his new car, which was introduced in 1913. The new president of General Motors in 1910 became Charles W. Nash. He retired in 1916, and purchased the Jeffery Motor Company from Thomas B. Jeffery, who had founded the company in 1879 to make Rambler bicycles, and had introduced the first Rambler car in 1902. Now, it's new 1917 model was called a Nash. After the War in 1918, General Motors suffered a severe financial decline. A major stockholder was the wealthy E.I. DuPont de Nemours Company, which sent Pierre DuPont to manage GM. He bought Chevrolet Motor Co., whose major investor, William C.

Olds Motor Works, vehicle, William C.Durant
First Harley Davidson
First Harley Davidson Harley, William 1903

The first Harley-Davidson motorcycle was produced in Milwaukee in 1902 and launched in 1903 by William Harley and the Davidson brothers, William, Walter, and Arthur. The Werner Brothers in France had been manufacturing bicycles with attached engines since 1897, but Harley integrated the engine into the frame. In 1936, a new Harley-Davidson 61 EL motor-cycle, designed by its founders, was introduced. It became known as the original "Hog." After World War II, Harley-Davidson was one of the only two surviving motorcycle manufacturers. Indian, the other, produced its last cycle in 1953. Some of the post-war H-D designs were worked on by Brooks Stevens (1911-1995). In the 1950s a film, The Wild Ones, starring Marlon Brando, branded motorcycles as weapons of counter-cultural elements; gangs, to be specific. This non-traditional trend continued in the 1960s, with a book by Robert Pirsig called Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which nevertheless captured the interest of many industrial designers with its message of product excellence and quality. In 1969, motorcycles embodied the counter-culture youth image in the film, Easy Rider, starring Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson. In addition to this 1960s stigma of a fringe market, Harley Davidson was suffering hard times due to competitive Japanese imports like Honda and Kawasaki. The company was sold to AMF in 1969. In 1975 a Windjammer motorcycle aerodynamic wind-deflector was designed and produced by Craig Vetter which set a new typeform for the ways motorcycles look. Japanese designs were also changing the image of cycles into that of stylish sport vehicles. The counter-culture image faded. In 1981, Harley-Davidson was re-acquired by its original management and by 1991, was producing 60,000 cycles per year and struggling to keep up with demand. A real turn around success story. Eric Buell designed for H-D from 1979 to 1984.

vehicle, William Harley
Hotpoint Electric Iron
Hotpoint Electric Iron Richardson, Earl H. 1905

This electric iron, introduced to the market in 1905 by Earl H. Richardson, arranged the heating elements in a way which concentrated the heat at the forward point of the soleplate, to better iron buttonholes and pleated materials. Customers loved the "hot point" on the iron. Richardson, as a meter reader at the Ontario (California) Power Company in 1903, had developed an electric iron and distributed a number of free samples to customers. But ironing was always done on Tuesdays (Monday was wash day), and at that time, power was only provided at night, for lighting. Richardson reasoned that sales of electric appliances could only succeed with the cooperation of power companies, so he convinced his employer to generate electricity all day on Tuesdays, so his irons could be used. The 1905 iron with the "hot point" became the first commercially successful electric laundry iron, and was formally named the Hotpoint iron in 1907. In 1912, the company itself was named the Hotpoint Electric Heating Company. In 1918, the Hotpoint company merged with the Hughes Electric Heating Company (See Hughes Electric Range, 1910) and the heating device section of General Electric, to form the Edison Electric Appliance Company, with Hughes as president. The new company produced Hotpoint brand name products, first the iron, and in 1919, the first Hotpoint electric range. In 1931, the Edison Electric Appliance Company became the Edison General Electric Company, and in 1934, the Hotpoint brand name was integrated into General Electric production.

Earl H. Richardson, Houseware
Victrola Model XVI
Victrola Model XVI Berliner, Emil and Johnson, Eldridge R. 1906

Copy The Victor Talking Machine Company, founded in 1901 by Emil Berliner and Eldridge R. Johnson, introduced the Victrola at a price of $200. Unlike previous phonographs, which were toy-like turntables with a large speaker horn to amplify the sound, this was housed in an elegant wood cabinet in several contemporary (for the time) furniture styles. The speaker horn and turntable mechanism were totally concealed, and there were convenient storage compartments for records. This Victrola design, by Johnson, and in particular a refined version of 1907, transformed the phonograph into a popular household item, and set the pattern of wood cabinetry enclosures later imitated by radios and television sets well into the 1950s. Berliner (1851-1929) had in 1888 invented the first flat rubber disc system, an improvement over Thomas A. Edison's original 1877 cylinder system, and incorporated it into his 1896 Gramophone. Johnson, also an inventor, improved the sound quality of Berliner's system with a spring-driven motor. Together, Berliner and Johnson formed the Victor Talking Machine Company in 1901, which was acquired by RCA in 1929.

Emil Berliner, Talking Machine
GE's First Toaster
GE's First Toaster General Electric 1908

General Electric's GE First Toaster was a two-slice model with a porcelain base and a warming tray on top, the D-12. Such products were made possible by the perfection in 1907 of long-life nickel-chrome alloy electrical resistors. The exposed heating coils were a hazard, but they were tested and approved in 1909 by Underwriters Laboratories (founded 1894) along with a Westinghouse model. The D-12, built on assembly tables by women, was widely distributed and would remain in production until 1913. Such appliances were traditionally placed on a special wooden "cooking table" which had electrical outlets for individual appliances such as water kettles, cookers and pop-corn poppers, and a separate oven. GE produced its first one in 1905. A true "electric cook stove" was not on the market until 1910 (See Hughes Range). General Electric was formed in 1892 with the consolidation of the Edison General Electric Company and the Thomson-Houston Company. It entered the "housewares" business with an electric desk fan in 1889. In 1900 it established a research laboratory under consultant Charles Proteus Steinmetz (1865-1923), the first of its kind. GE produced its first electric iron in 1904. By 1908 the research lab had a staff of 8. In 1910, the US standardized on alternating current at 60 cycles and 120 volts. By 1917, the GE research lab had a staff of 298, and by 1918, there would be some 375 similar industrial research labs in the US.

General Electric, Houseware
Table Fan
Table Fan Behrens, Peter 1908

This table fan, designed by Peter Behrens, was introduced in 1908 by Allgemeine Elektricitäts Gesellschaft (A.E.G.), the successor to DEG (Deutsche Edison Gesellschaft), a German company originally founded 1883 by Emil Rathenau based on Edison's light bulb. AEG was the German equivalent of General Electric in the US. Peter Behrens was appointed artistic advisor to AEG in 1907 and become intensely involved with its architectural, product, and graphic design programs at AEG until World War I. He simply and clearly stated his design philosophy: "It is agreed; we refuse to duplicate handmade works, historical style forms, and other materials for production." In effect, he was the first corporate designer, and created the first "corporate image" for AEG. This included several company trademarks, the last of which, designed in 1914, is still recognizable today. Other AEG designs included a number of electric water kettles and a Turbine Factory Hall in 1909. The factory inspires the US's Albert Kahn in his factories for Ford (1910) and Walter Gropius' Faguswerk shoe factory in Germany (1911), thus establishing the glass and "factory esthetic" at the Deutsche Werkbund exhibition of 1914, which was incorporated into the modern movement. Peter Behrens (1868-1940), a German architect and designer, was born in Hamburg and studied painting at Karlsruhe and Düsseldorf schools of art from 1886 to 1889. He co-founded the Munich Vereinigte Werkstätten für Kunst im Handwerk (United Workshops for Art in Handcraft) in 1897, and was professor of an artists colony in Darmstadt from 1900-1903. He was director of the Düsseldorf School of Arts and Crafts from 1903 to 1907 and was a founding member of the Deutsche Werkbund, also in 1907. Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe all studied under him.in his office, which he opened in 1908. During and after WW I he continued to practice as an architect.

Houseware, Peter behrens
Settle by Gustav Stickley
Stickley, Gustav Stickley, Gustav 1909

Gustav Stickley (1857-1942) was a designer and follower of the Arts and Crafts movement who entered the furniture business with many brothers in 1886. Gustav's brother, Charles Stickley, had in 1884 formed the Stickley-Brandt Furniture Company in Binghamton, NY and produced Victorian design furniture until it went bankrupt in 1919. Two of the brothers, George and Albert Stickley, moved to Grand Rapids, MI in 1891, making furniture at their firm, Stickley Brothers Company, which closed in 1907. Two other brothers, Leopold and J. George Stickley, opened a factory in Fayetteville, NY, under the name L. and J. G. Stickley Company, made furniture, some designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Gustav established his own firm in 1898, designing and making his own furniture in Syracuse, NY. He introduced his first line, called The New Furniture, at the Grand Rapids Furniture Show in 1900. The style was extremely plain and functional, compared with most Victorian furniture. In 1901, Gustav changed the name of his company to Craftsman and adapted the motto "Als Ik Kan" ("If I can"). He also began publication of a magazine, titled, The Craftsman, promoting his new design concept of "simplicity, durability and quality," and regarding his work as his personal "mission." Gustav was joined in 1903 by talented designer Harvey Ellis (1852-1904), and their furniture line met with such outstanding success that manufacture soon became nationally franchised and they moved operations to New York City in 1905. But demand soon exceeded production capability, and imitators abounded. Because of such proliferation, furniture produced by Stickley and others influenced by him became known generically as, "Mission Furniture." Massive imitation and competition of mission-style designs resulted in bankruptcy for Gustav in 1915. In 1916, his brothers' firm, L. and J. G. Stickley Company, purchased Gustav's factory and continued to operate it as the Stickley Manufacturing Company.

furniture, Gustav Stickley
Hughes Electric Range
Hughes Electric Range Hughes, George A. 1910

The Hughes Electric Heating Company was founded in Chicago by George A. Hughes (1871-1944), the founder of an electric light and power company in Fargo, ND. He introduced the first "electric cook stove" at the National Electric Light Association convention in St. Louis M0 in 1910. Hughes had been developing earlier crude test models since 1904. He began producing refined models in 1909 with three burners and an oven, after he sold his interest in the power company. This stove was the first to integrate ate burners and oven into a single, free-standing major appliance. Earlier "cooking tables" merely incorporated a series of electrical receptacles into which individual electric appliances could be plugged. General Electric introduced such a cooking table in 1905, which included a separate oven. By 1907, GE had a full line of heating and cooking appliances and in 1912, began production of its Model R-1 free standing range. In 1916, Hughes hired Bernice Lowen and Helen Aitken to establish a Home Economics Department, which set a precedent in the home appliance industry. In 1918 Hughes' company merged with the Hotpoint Electric Heating Company and the heating device section of General Electric to form the Edison Electric Appliance Company, and to produce Hotpoint brand name products. Hughes was its first president. Hotpoint was the name Earl H. Richardson gave in 1907 to an electric iron he introduced in 1905 which became the first commercially successful electric laundry iron. It concentrated heat at its point (easier to iron around buttons and pleats), was smaller and lighter than competitors, and was the first to feature a heel stand and a detachable cord. By 1912, the company, originally named the Pacific Electric Heating Company, was re-named as Hotpoint Electric Heating Company, and had a complete line of home appliances. The Hotpoint trademark was registered in 1914. The first Hotpoint electric range, Model 1, was produced in 1919.

Houseware, Hughes Electric Heating Company
Model T Ford
Model T Ford Ford, Henry 1913

n 1913, Henry Ford perfected the mass- production process with his re-designed Model T. Inspired by efficient Chicago meatpacking processes, Ford developed a sophisticated assembly-line method reducing production time from 12 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours, and the car price from $900 to $440. In 1913 alone, 168,000 were produced. His unprecedented system became known throughout the world as Fordism, and by 1915 had reduced skilled labor in auto factories from 60% to 13%. Fifteen million Model T's were produced and in 1960, designer Jay Doblin called it "the most beautiful car ever built, a classic illustration of what an automobile should be." When Henry Ford originally introduced the Model T in 1908, it was available at $845 in black only (similar cars cost $2,000 to $3,000). It was called a "flivver" and said to be "stronger than a horse and easier to maintain." In 1909, Henry Ford declared that he would build only this model in the future, and only in black. In 1910 Ford opened its new Highland Park plant, designed by architect Albert Kahn to produce Model T's. The plant design was architecturally expressive of manufacturing technology, and between 1922 and 1926 Kahn also designed a coke-oven plant, a foundry, a cement plant, an open-hearth steel plant and a new River Rouge site for Ford. After 1913, sales of Model T's boomed. By 1917 they comprised forty-two percent of US annual car production; by 1918, fifty percent; and by 1923, 52 percent. In 1923 Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. (1875-1966) took the helm of General Motors. He introduced innovative new consumer strategies, including consumer credit and the annual model change. By 1926, Chevrolet challenged Ford with bold new styling and colors, forcing a change in the Model T. Henry announced his new cars would now be offered in "deep channel green" and "rich Windsor maroon," as well as black. By 1927, GM captured 45% of the US market and Ford's share had dropped to 15%.

Henry Ford, vehicle
Corning Pyrex Bakeware
Corning Pyrex Bakeware Littleton, Dr. Jesse T. 1915

In 1915, Corning Glass introduced the first glass ovenware, made of a new, clear, heat-resistant material, Pyrex®. Its cooking potential was discovered in 1913 by Dr. Jesse T. Littleton of Corning when he provided his wife, Becky, with a makeshift casserole out of a cut-down Nonex battery jar. Surprisingly, it survived the oven as well as traditional ceramic casseroles. After Corning revised the original Nonex formula to remove the lead (dangerous in food products), the ovenware was successfully tested by Sarah Tyson Rorer, Director of the Philadelphia Cooking School and culinary editor of the Ladies Home Journal. The first product produced was a circular nine-inch "pie" plate (some say leading to the name"pie-rex"). Others say the name Pyrex was a technical derivative of the Greek "pyra" (for hearth), and the "ex" ending which had valuable brand-name similarity to Nonex. But what was Nonex? It was a "low-expansion" glass developed in 1908 by Dr. Eugene Sullivan, the first Director of Research at Corning Glass Works (founded 1851), to reduce product breakage. As a doctoral student in Leipzig, Germany in 1900, he had learned of experiments using borosilicate glass at the Jena Glass Works by Dr. Otto Schott, and applied this knowledge. The glass was used in weather shock-resistant lantern globes, and battery jars called Corning Nonex (for non-expansion). The same year Pyrex was introduced, a coffeemaker using it was marketed, using the "Silex" vacuum-drip principle. The name "Silex" was explained: "Sanitary and Interesting method of making Lucious coffee. It is Easy to operate on account of its being X-ray transparent." The design had originated in Europe, and rights were obtained in 1909 by two sisters, Mrs. Ann Bridges and Mrs. Sutton of Massachusetts, who had it manufactured by the Frank E. Wolcott Mfg. Co.

Bakeware, Corning Pyrex Bakeware, dishware, Glass, Glassware
Hotpoint-HughesElectric Range
Hotpoint-HughesElectric Range Hughes, George A. 1922

This 1922 Hotpoint range, made by the Edison Electric Company is typical of the period. The company was formed by a merger of the Hughes Electric Heating Company, Hotpoint Electric Heating Company and the heating device section of General Electric in 1918, in order to produce products under the Hotpoint brand name. The first range, Model 1, was produced in 1919. The Hughes Company was founded in 1910 by George A. Hughes, who introduced the first "electric cook stove" that year (see another topic). Hughes became the first president of the newly-formed Edison Electric Company in 1918. The Hotpoint Company was formed in 1912, based on the popularity of the "hot point" on an iron marketed in 1905 by Earl Richardson (see another topic). In 1907, the iron formally was marketed as the Hotpoint Iron. Up until 1922, all electric ranges were in black, brown or both. The Edison Electric Appliance Company model shown here, you will notice, did have a white oven door nameplate, a simple flat porcelain enamel sheet, probably to dramatize the new name. But this year, Edison Electric received an order from a Raleigh, NC utility executive for an all- white, porcelain stove. Rather than admit that such a stove was not being produced, Edison quoted an exorbitantly high price to discourage him. Upon receiving an order anyway, they felt obligated to develop a new annealing process to apply the enamel on the entire stove. Thus it was that 1923 Hotpoint models included all-white ranges with nickel trim on the door, and thereafter, white became widely accepted in the industry for ranges, dominating until the 1960s. In 1931, the Edison Electric Appliance Company became the Edison General Electric Company, and in 1934, General Electric and Hotpoint brand production was integrated, retaining both brand names, by that time, in refrigerators, as well. In 1935, Raymond C. Sandin joined the Hotpoint division of general Electric as a one-man design department.

Edison Electric Company, Houseware
MT 8 Table Lamp
MT 8 Table Lamp Wagenfeld, Wilhelm and Jucker, Karl Jacob 1923

This MT 8 table lamp with a hemispherical glass globe was designed by Bauhaus students Wilhelm Wagenfeld (1900-1990) and Karl Jacob Jucker (1902-1997). It was of chrome-plated metal and 16 3/4 inches high. It was probably exhibited at the first full-scale exhibition of the Bauhaus held in Weimar, during two weeks in August. It is evidence of the new design philosophy of László Moholy-Nagy who had just taken over the metal shops, and who pointed the school to a more severe and simple style, with common manufacturing materials, and a focus on mass production. The lamp was manufactured in Dessau, Germany, an early example of student designs that were mass-produced. Reproductions of the lamp are available from the Museum of Modern Art. Wilhelm Wagenfeld was born in Germany, trained as goldsmith and studied drawing at Hanau before becoming Bauhaus student in 1923 in metal workshops under László Moholy-Nagy. He left the Bauhaus in 1929 and worked in porcelain and glass with Lausitzer Glasverein from 1935 to 1938. In 1938 he designed Kubusgeschirr (Cube ware) a range of stacking glass kitchen storage containers as artistic director of Lausitzer Glasverein. He also worked with Jenaer Glaswerke and taught design at Berlin Hochshule für Bildende Künste. He designed an unusual 1938 Zigzag Pelican ink bottle which is still in production. He established his own workshop in 1954 in Stuttgart and was co-founder of the New Werkbund in 1947 and of the journal Form in 1957.

Lighting, Wilhelm Wagenfeld
The First Chrysler
The First Chrysler Motors, Chrysler 1924

In 1924 Chrysler became the last successful new car company start-up in the US for over 70 years. The company was founded by Walter P. Chrysler, who had left General Motors in 1920, and was designed by engineer Carl Breer (1883-1970). Denied space in the 1924 auto show by the leading manufacturers, Chrysler introduced his new car in a nearby hotel lobby. The model featured improved 4-wheel hydraulic brakes, which first appeared on the 1921 Duesenberg, but were plagued with leakage problems. The new car was an instant success. Within a year, Chrysler was considered one of the "big three," along with Ford and GM, together building 80 per cent of all US cars. In 1928, Chrysler Motors introduced the Plymouth, and established an Art and Color Department headed by industrial designer Herbert V. Henderson, following the lead of General Motors, who had established a similar department headed by Harley Earl the year before. But Henderson's group had little to do with body design. In 1931, The Chrysler Building was built in New York, becoming the tallest building in the world for a few months before the completion of the Empire State Building. Well-known body designer Raymond Dietrich (1894-1980) joined Chrysler as a consultant in 1932, becoming unofficial head of the Art and Color Department, then the official head from 1934 until 1940. In 1934, the Chrysler Airflow, designed by chief engineer Carl Breer and his staff engineers Fred Zeder and Owen Skelton, introduced leading-edge aerodynamic styling, innovative weight distribution and unitized body construction. While the too-advanced design was a failure in the market, it had significant future influence in automotive design.

Chrysler, vehicle, Walter P. Chrysler
Vienna Cafe Chair
Vienna Cafe Chair Thonet, Michael 1925

The Vienna Café chair No. 14 is probably the most successful example of Thonet bentwood furniture. Certainly it is the most simple and prolific. It was produced starting in 1859, as a "chair for mass consumption," and by 1930, more than 50 million had been produced. It is assembled from six pieces of wood held together with screws and nuts, with a caned seat. Gebruder Thonet, the Austrian company founded in 1853 by German cabinet maker Michael Thonet (1796-1871) and his five sons, had 52 factories in Europe by 1900, making bentwood furniture. Other models of that era include the Rocking Chair # 10, produced since 1866, and a senuous reclining couch, Model No. 2, produced since 1885. All were designed by Michael Thonet. The Vienna Café chair No. 14 achieved a permanent place in modern design history when it was included in an innovative housing exhibit called L'Esprit Nouveau at the Paris Exposition Internationale in 1925. Virtually un-noticed at the time, the exhibit, designed by French architect Le Corbusier (1887-1965--born as Charles Edouard Jeanneret Gris ) and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret (1896-1967), was an essentially bare and undecorated home interior, with metal file cabinets, bistro wine glasses, laboratory flasks as vases, industrial equipment, and commercial furniture (the Thonet chair) as part of the "decor". It was In fact, it expressed a complete rejection of decorative art, but within five years would greatly influence the direction of the modern movement, because of its emphasis on making the home a more efficient place, rather than the soon-to-be outdated emphasis on stylistic decor. Michael Thonet opened his furniture cabinetry workshop in 1819 in a rural Austrian town. By 1835, he was experimenting with a then-new technology of bending solid wood into chair parts, and by 1841, had patented his unique technique, characterized by flowing forms and the resultant lightweight product.

furniture, Michael Thonet
Waters-Genter Toaster
Waters-Genter Toaster Waters-Genter Company 1926

This was the first consumer pop-up toaster, called the Toastmaster. It was introduced in 1926 by Waters-Genter Company, formed in 1921 to produce the invention patented by Charles Strite in 1919. The first Model 1-A-1 was designed by factory superintendent Murray Ireland. Since it automatically turned off the toaster when toast was done, and toasted both sided of the bread simultaneously, it revolutionized the time-consuming chores of watching the toast, and turning it when one side was done. The company was acquired later in the year by McGraw Electric Company, later to be known a McGraw-Edison, and later still as Toastmaster (see below). General Electric introduced its first widely-distributed electric toaster in 1908 to an already full line of consumer heating and cooking devices being marketed. The two-slice model D-12, with a porcelain base, remained in production until 1913. Toasters were first tested by Underwriter's Laboratories in 1909 and included models by Westinghouse and General Electric. At that time, toasters were of completely open construction, with no cover or shell, and were viewed as fire hazards. Later toasters became much safer with manually-operated drop-down side doors, which not only kept hands away from the red-hot heating elements, but nicely flipped over the bread to expose the opposite side to the heat, when doors were opened. Still, they took careful watching to avoid burnt toast. In 1939, the Toastmaster model 1B9, designed by Jean Otis Reinecke and his staff at Barnes & Reinecke, was introduced by McGraw Electric Company. It was the first to exploit the curvature of chrome-plated shells on toasters, increased sales dramatically, was widely imitated, and served as the typeform for toasters well into the 1960s. One of Reinecke's designers, Fred Priess, designed the linear "three loop" decoration which became the company's symbol. The 1947 IB14 model sold seven million units by 1961.

Houseware, Waters-Genter Company
G.E. Monitor Top Refrigerator
G.E. Monitor Top Refrigerator Steenstrup, Christian 1927

In 1927, General Electric introduced this "Monitor Top" refrigerator, so-named by the public because of the resemblance of the exposed compressor on top of its cabinet to the cylindrical turret of the Civil War gunship, the Monitor. The product, priced at $525, was designed by Chief Engineer Christian Steenstrup (1873-1955). It had a single door, and was the first all-steel refrigerator cabinet, earlier versions having been of wood to imitate furniture cabinetry. It quickly became one of GE's most successful products and made GE the industry leader, in spite of the fact that it was perched on the top of rather traditional looking "furniture" legs. Household refrigerators had been on the market for some time. GE was the first, marketing in 1911 a wooden model invented in France by a French monk, Abbé Marcel Audiffren. Called the Audiffren, it sold for $1000, twice the cost of a car, and was produced in France. The first successful domestic refrigerator to enter full scale production in the US was the Kelvinator, in 1918. Made of wood, it looked pretty much like a small bedroom night stand, with a single door. Frigidaire, purchased by General Motors in 1919, introduced its first home refrigerator in 1921, when there were only about 5000 refrigerators in the US. Also in wood, it was larger, about the size of a bedroom armoire, or wardrobe, with three doors. By 1923, there were 56 companies making refrigerators, using sulfur dioxide, methyl chloride, or ammonia gases, all of which were dangerously toxic. Two years after the "Monitor-Top", in 1929, the Kelvinator Four refrigerator debuted with no visible "legs". Its cabinet and compressor were cleanly encased in a simple white metal box design reaching the floor. It set the design typeform for home refrigerators for the rest of the century. Freon was discovered in 1930 by Delco chemist Thomas Midgely. Non-toxic, Freon was adopted by all manufacturers, and refrigerators became safe for use in the home.

Christian Steenstrup, General Electric, Houseware
Kamden Writing Table Lamp
Kamden Writing Table Lamp Bredendieck, Hin 1928

This lamp produced by the Leipzig firm of Körting & Matthieson, was designed by Hin Bredendieck, a student at the Bauhaus. The Bauhaus (Das Staatliches Bauhaus) was established in Weimar, Germany in 1919 by architect Walter Gropius (1883-1969). The school was moved to Dessau in 1925, and re-named the Institute of Design (Hochschule fur Gestaltung). Gropius resigned in 1928, appointing Hannes Meyer (1889-1954) as his successor. Meyer was replaced by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) in 1930. In 1932, the Bauhaus was dissolved by the Dessau City Council, and van der Rohe moved the school to Berlin, where it was closed in 1933 by the Nazi Party under Adolph Hitler, thus insuring its martyrdom in the design world. Hin Bredendieck (1904-1995) was born in Aurich, Germany. He enrolled as Bauhaus student in Dessau in 1927, graduating in 1930. He began his practice with Laslo Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946) and Herbert Bayer (1900-1985) in Germany. In 1937 he was invited to the US by Moholy-Nagy to join the Bauhaus in Chicago, and in 1952 became the first director of the design program at the Georgia Institute of Technology, a position he held until his retirement in 1971. He was a participative and outspoken member of IDSA, and received its honored Education Award in 1994. The Kandem Lamp was one of a number of lamps designed at the Bauhaus and produced by Körting & Matthieson. Another similar but shorter table lamp was designed in 1928 by instructor Marianne Brandt (1893-1983), a former student who briefly headed the metal workshops started by Moholy-Nagy 1923, upon his departure in 1928. The Kandem lamps are noteworthy because they are among the few actual Bauhaus product designs produced in quantity, thus fulfilling Walter Gropius' originally stated purpose of products "at a reasonable price through the utilization of all the modern economical means of standardization and wide marketing." Other Bauhaus-designed products produced included pottery and weavings.

Hin Bredendieck, Leipzig firm of Körting & Matthieson, Lighting
Kleinauto Type 32
Kleinauto Type 32 Porsche, Dr. Ferdinand 1932

Dr. Ferdinand Porsche (1875-1951) developed this inexpensive rear-engine small car called the Type 32, or Kleinauto, for the NSU Company in Germany in 1932. It was based on an original small car prototype Porsche had developed, but never produced in 1931 for the Zündapp Works, a motorcycle firm. Porsche had just in 1931 opened his own automotive design firm with his son, Ferdinand "Ferry" Porsche II (b. 1909) , but already had a long and distinguished career of innovative design. Born in Austria, he was hired in 1898 as a designer by Ludwig Lohner, owner of a carriage factory in Vienna, who wanted to produce an electric car and was interested in Porsche's idea of placing the electric motors directly inside the wheel hub, thus eliminating chain and belt drives. The resulting car was the Porsche-Lohner Chaise, which won a grand prize at the Universal Exposition in Paris in 1900, and made Porsche famous. In 1903, Porsche combined a gasoline engine with an electric motor in what he called a "Mixt" car for Lohner. The engine powered a generator which fed electricity to the motors in the wheels. Nicknamed "Aunt Eulalia", the car was a hit with celebrities like Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand. In 1906, Porsche became an engineer for Austro-Daimler as a technical director and board member, and joined Daimler in Germany in 1923 where he remained until he was dismissed, when Daimler merged with Benz Cie in 1926. In 1929 he took a key position with Steyr Works in Vienna, but the company soon collapsed financially. Three of his NSU small car prototypes were built in 1933, and they were refined, through a commission by Adolph Hitler, into three VW 3 prototypes in 1936, which were successfully tested by the Nazi SS. Hitler's specifications included a cost of DM990 (US $396), a speed of 100 kph (60 mph), and 40 mpg fuel consumption.

Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, NSU Company, vehicle
Briggs Dream Car
Briggs Dream Car Tjaarda, John 1933

At the Chicago Century of Progress Exhibition (1933-1934), Ford displayed a concept vehicle called the Briggs Dream Car, a rear-engine car with unitized body designed by John Tjaarda of Briggs Manufacturing Company, Ford's major body supplier. Tjaarda based his design on aero- dynamic monocoque designs and models he began working on in 1926, called the Sterkenberg Series, which he refined in 1930 while working for Harley Earl. In 1932, he was hired by Briggs as chief of body design in their new in-house design center. Briggs had just bought out LeBaron, Inc., and became Detroit's largest independent body producer. John Tjaarda (say "charda"), 1897- 1962, was born in Holland of a titled family in the Sterkenberg area. He trained in aeronautical design in England and served as a Dutch Air Force pilot before emigrating to US in 1923. He worked first on custom bodies in Holly- wood, then pioneered in monocoque streamlined designs while working for Duesenberg and Harley Earl. Tjaarda and others were inspired toward aerodynamic car design by initial work started in 1921 by Austro-Hungarian engineer Paul Jaray, who began testing car models in aircraft wind tunnels. Jaray later used this data to design the streamlined 1933 Tatra 77 built in Czechoslovakia, which remained in production into the 1990s. The Tjaarda Dream Car bore an uncanny resemblence to the 1932 inexpensive rear-engine small car developed in Germany by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche for the NSU Company called the Type 32, or Kleinauto, which in 1933 was already on its way to becoming the Volkswagen Beetle. On the other hand, Porsche's design owes a lot to Tjaarda's Sterkenberg Series of the late 1920s. Chrysler picked up on aerodynamic research in 1927, prototyping a design in 1932 which resulted in their infamous Airflow design of 1934. Ford, in 1933, had begun annual styling changes (pioneered by Chevrolet in 1928 and causing the demise of Ford's Model T).

John Tjaarda, vehicle
Douglas DC-3
Douglas DC-3 Kindelberger, James H. (Dutch) 1935

The Douglas DC-3, an airliner which carried 21 passengers, was first flown in 1935. It was designed and patented by chief engineer James H. (Dutch) Kindelberger and designer Arthur E. Raymond (1900-1999) to compete with the Boeing B-247. The B-247, which made its first flight in 1933, was the first all-metal monoplane transport, based on an earlier B-9 bomber designed by Claire Egtvedt. It had been ordered by United Air Lines, had twin engines and a retractable landing gear, carried 10 passengers in a heated, sound-proof cabin, and was able to cross the country in 20 hours, cruising at 155 mph. Later versions of this design evolved into the B-17 Flying Fortress of World War II fame. A single prototype of the competing twin- engine Douglas 12-seat DC-1, flew in 1933, and the first production version, the DC-2, began scheduled service for Transcontinental & Western Air (later TWA) on the Newark-Chicago run in 1934, carrying 14 passengers. Commercial success of the DC-2 initiated the 1934 development of the DC-3 which went into service for American Airlines in 1936 and which became the first to make commercial air travel profitable and realistic. By 1942, 90% of airliners in use were DC-3s. 11,000 were eventually produced. During WW II, the DC-3 was called the Dakota by the British, the C-47 Skytrains by the Air Transport Command, R-4Ds by the Navy, and the Gooney Bird by most troops. Though production ceased in 1946, two thousand DC-3s were still in service in the late 1980s. Donald W. Douglas, an aircraft designer, founded the company in 1920, with most of its work for the US Army Air Corps. In 1924, a Douglas US Army plane, the Chicago, piloted by Lt. L.H. Smith, completed the first flight around the world in 351 hours flying time. Commercial transatlantic flights did not begin until 1939, when the flight took 26.5 hours.

James H. (Dutch) Kindelberger, Transportation
American Modern
American Modern Wright, Russell 1935

This line of furniture in natural maple was designed by Russell Wright, manufactured by Conant Ball Company for Macy's, and first introduced in 1935 under the name Modern Living. It immediately became popular as the first modern furniture in the US, and later was appropriately re-named American Modern. A similar line was also produced in bleached "blond" maple. The success of these lines made Wright instantly famous to the public. Russel Wright (1904-1976), after study at Princeton, apprenticed with Norman Bell Geddes and first worked as a stage designer. He began a business in 1930 with his wife, Mary, designing and producing spun-aluminum decorative accessories for the home. Wright is credited as one of the first to explore aluminum decoratively, as earlier use was essentially as cooking utensils. His only earlier furniture design was the first "sectional" sofa, manufactured by Heywood-Wakefield for Bloomingdale¹s and introduced in 1934. Wright championed the principles of informal living, and by many, was considered the pioneer of "organic" design. In 1938 he established a "casual living" concept of accessories, re-naming his firm Russell Wright Accessories. In 1939, de designed and introduced the highly successful American Modern ceramic dinnerware, manufactured by Steubenville Pottery. In 1940, he initiated a patriotic nationwide project to promote low cost design called The American-Way, which unfortunately was eclipsed by the start of war and abandoned. At the same time, he closed his accessory business and with several partners, formed a new firm, Raymor, which continued to sell his products as well as a range of internationally-designed products after the war. In 1944, Wright was one of the founders of SID, a predecessor of IDSA. In 1951, he and his wife published A Guide to Easier Living, promoting casual and inexpensive contemporary design for the home.

Conant Ball Company, furniture, Russell Wright
Lincoln Zephyr
Lincoln Zephyr Tjaarda, John and Bonbright, Howard 1936

The Lincoln Zephyr, designed by John Tjaarda and Howard Bonbright of the Briggs Manufacturing Company for Ford under the supervision of Henry's son, Edsel, and revised by Bob Gregorie (see below), was introduced in 1936. It was based on an earlier rear-engine design by Tjaarda, the Briggs Dream Car shown at The Century of Progress Exhibition in 1933-1934. (See separate article on this car) The design had a short front hood which sloped down quickly (similar to the original VW Beetle) which was consistent with the new "streamlining" trend. Gregorie had just been chosen in 1935 by Edsel Ford to head up Ford's new internal styling group, which from this time on would not need to use Briggs or any other outside styling sources. Gregorie used his new authority well. He had witnessed the 1934 controversial introduction of the Chrysler Airflow (see separate article on this car) which was "too streamlined" to suit public taste. In particular, the public disliked the blunt, rounded hood. He did not repeat this fatal error. So he moved the engine (of the Dream Car concept) to the front and added a graceful hood shape similar to an inverted, underwater ship's prow, which dramatically changed the character of the design. Gregorie's classic revised design was patented in 1935. The name Zephyr was clearly a reference to the first truly streamlined train, the Burlington Silver Streak Zephyr, designed by Albert Dean of the Budd company, that debuted at the Century of Progress Exhibition in Chicago in 1934. The very word, Zephyr, suggested the latest in streamlining technology. The Museum of Modern Art later called the Lincoln Zephyr the first successful streamlined car in the US, and it led to the even more classic Lincoln Continental of 1939. Eugene Turrenne "Bob" Gregorie, Jr., US auto designer was born in New York City in 1908. In 1927 he started as a draftsman at Elco Boat Works in Bayonne, NJ, and moved to yacht designers Cox & Stevens in NY in 1928.

John Tjaarda, vehicle
Model K KitchenAid
Model K KitchenAid Arens, Egmont 1937

The Hobart Manufacturing Company introduced a KitchenAid Model "K" stand mixer for $55, designed by Egmont Arens (1888-1966). The design remained virtually unchanged and is still a classic on the market. The company, now known as KitchenAid, is part of the Whirlpool Corporation. Arens began his career in 1916 as a sports editor in Albuquerque, NM and the following year moved to New York and operated the Washington Square Bookstore. By 1929 he was advertising director for Caulkins & Holden agency, where he started an industrial styling department and headed it until it was discontinued in 1936. He also edited Playboy (No, not that one. This one was the first magazine devoted to modern art.) He designed the Good Life main exhibit in the Consumers Building at the 1939 New York World's Fair, the Higgens ink bottle, A&P packaging including 8 o'clock coffee (Still ticking!), and the Philip Morris trademark.. In 1944, Arens was one of the 15 original founders and first Secretary of the Society of Industrial Designers (SID), a predecessor organization of IDSA. Hobart was founded in Troy, OH by engineer Herbert Johnson who introduced an 80 quart commercial baking dough mixer in 1915 on which he had worked since 1908. Hobart introduced a 65 pound domestic version in 1919, named the Model "H" the KitchenAid when a housewife tester commented, "I don't care what you call it, but I know it's the best kitchen aid I have ever had." It was sold door to door for $189 and was on the market until 1927. A number of alphabetical designs followed in sequence--G,F,M,A, and R from 1927 to 1932.

Egmont Arens, Hobart Manufacturing Company, Houseware
S-1 Locomotive
S-1 Locomotive Loewy, Raymond in collaboration with Cret, Paul Philippe 1938

In 1938, the Pennsylvania Railroad introduced the world's largest steam locomotive, the S-1 and distinctive round-ended observation cars for its Broadway Limited. They were designed by Raymond Loewy in collaboration with Paul Philippe Cret, head of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. The S-1, with its bullet-nose, projecting headlight and horizontal chrome strips extending the length of the engine, was an improved version of the K4S Loewy designed for PRR in 1936. The S-1, capable of 100 mph speed, was a feature attraction at the 1939 World's Fair. Only one S-1 was ever built, but like most of Loewy's work for PRR, served as an incredible PRR promotional piece, and not incidentally, identified Loewy forever with the streamlined train. Loewy also designed the T-1 steam locomotive in for PRR, a later version of the S-1 with a wedge-shaped nose. Fifty were built, but they were soon discarded as PRR switched to diesel locomotives. Raymond Loewy (1893-1986), probably the most widely known US industrial designer, was born in Paris. He studied engineering 1910-1914, served in the French army in World War I and arrived in US in 1919. He worked as a fashion illustrator for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, and designed costumes for Florenz Ziegfeld. Opening his own office in 1929, his first product assignment was a duplicating machine for Gestetner, which was featured in a 1934 Fortune magazine article. Major clients included Pennsylvania Railroad, Coca-Cola, International Harvester, Studebaker, and NASA. He was on the cover of Time magazine in 1949. He wrote "Never Leave Well Enough Alone" in 1951, and "Industrial Design" in 1979. By 1960, he had a staff of 180. His US office filed for bankruptcy in 1977, closing US offices but keeping those in Europe. On the same day that PRR introduced the S-1, New York Central Railroad introduced 10 new streamliner J-3 steam engines and cars designed by Henry Dreyfuss for its Twentieth Century Limited New-York-Chicago run.

Raymond Loewy, Transportation
RCA Mod TRK 12 TV set--1939
RCA Television Sets Vassos, John 1939

RCA introduced America's first consumer television receiver sets at the New York World's Fair in 1939. Picture tubes ranged in size from 5" to 12" and faced upward on top of the cabinet with a tilting mirror to view the picture horizontally. The illustration shown is a 12" Model TRK. All were designed by John Vassos, who established the first internal design department at RCA in 1933, and remained as a consultant until 1964. Vassos also designed the theme and concept of the RCA pavilion at the World's Fair, where in April, in a speech entitled "Birth of an Industry", RCA president David Sarnoff announced the first live television broadcasting of a news event --President Franklin Roosevelt addressing the crowd at the fair. Sarnoff predicted that television would one day become an important entertainment and information medium. Sarnoff soon publicly credited Vladimir K. Zworykin of RCA with the invention of television. Zworykin had just received a patent in 1938 for his iconoscope, a television camera with millions of tint photocells replicating the human eye. What Sarnoff did not reveal was that he was already paying royalties to the REAL inventor of television. The real inventor was Utah engineer Philo Taylor Farnsworth (1906-1971). In 1920, as a 14- year old high school student, Farnsworth conceived and described the electron-scanning process and by 1927 invented an electronic television image dissector (camera) tube and successfully transmitted a series of images far superior to current mechanical television systems (see below). He applied for a patent. In 1923 Vladimir K. Zworykin (1889-1982), a Russian immigrant then working for Westinghouse, filed a patent for a television camera, to scan a picture by entirely electronic means. He called it an iconoscope. Zworykin was hired by RCA in 1929 and given enormous resources to "invent around" the television patent applied for by Philo T. Farnsworth.

Electronics, John Vassos, RCA
Willys Jeep
Willys Jeep The American Bantam Car Company 1941

Many know that today's ubiquitous Jeep can trace its design to a famous World War II military vehicle. But few know that its earlier predecessor was the first US compact car, designed in 1930 by a Russian Count. The American Bantam Car Company of Butler, PA developed a design of a general purpose (GP) army vehicle with consulting engineer Karl K, Probst, based on their Willys Overland Americar, the lightest full-sized car then on the road. The design was perfected by Willys engineer Delmar G. "Barney" Roos, and in 1941 was standardized by the US Army. Military contracts were awarded to Bantam (Bantam BRC), Willys (Willys MA) and Ford (GP), but Bantam capacity was relatively low. The GP designation led servicemen to call it the "Jeep", but they also called it the Peep, Blitzbuggy, Jitterbug, Bettlebug, Iron Pony, Leaping Lena, and Panzer Killer. The American Bantam Car Company originated in 1929, when Sir Henry Austin of England formed the American Austin Car Company and began development of a tiny car for the American market derived from a previous 1922 English Austin 7 model. It became the first US "compact" car, designed by Alexis de Sakhnoffsky (1901-1964), then of the Hayes Body Company of Grand Rapids, MI, who was born in Russia to the financial advisor of Czar Nicholas II and who became a US citizen in 1939. Production began in Butler, PA in 1930 and the mini-car became a popular US photo event and Hollywood movie comedy prop. After bankruptcy in 1934, American Austin was reorganized as the Bantam Automobile Company in 1936, with Thomas L. Hibbard as designing engineer. In 1920, Hibbard had been the co-founder. along with Raymond Dietrich, of Le Baron Carrossiers in Manhattan, an early custom car design firm which established the process for modern automotive design, as later formalized by Harley Earl at General Motors in 1927.

The American Bantam Car Company, vehicle
Jens Risom Chair
Jens Risom Chair Risom, Jens for Hans Knoll 1943

This chair, of simple wood construction using surplus military webbing, was designed by Jens Risom for Hans Knoll, before Risom entered the Army during World War II. It was the basis for Knoll's first line of products introduced in 1942, virtually the only modern furniture available during the war in the US, and was patented in 1945. Jens Risom was born in Denmark in 1916, and arrived in the US in 1938. He worked as a textile and furniture designer with Dan Cooper in 1939, and in 1941 joined with Hans Knoll to produce modern furniture. After the war in 1946, he started his own design and manufacturing business, Jens Risom Design. Hans Knoll (1914-1955) was born in Stuttgart, Germany, where his father was a furniture maker. Hans studied in Switzerland and England, and emigrated to the US in 1937 to establish his own business, the H.G. Knoll Furniture Company in New York, offering simple, modern furniture. In 1944, Hans married Florence Schust. She had studied architecture at Cranbrook Academy, the Architectural Association in London, and at the Illinois Institute of Technology under Mies van der Rohe. Hans and Florence established Knoll Associates in 1946, with the idea of creating a collection of furniture designs by well-known designers and paying them on a royalty basis. These included George Nakashima furniture, the Hardoy sling chair (1946), Mies van der Rohe's 1929 Barcelona chair (1947), Eero Saarinen's Womb chair (1948),Isamu Noguchi's cylinder lamp (1948) and Akari lamp (1952), Harry Bertoia's Diamond chairs (1952), Eero Saarinen's Pedestal chair (1956) , Mies van der Rohe's 1930 Brno chair (1960), as well as his 1927 Weissenhof chair (1964), his 1930 Tuganhat chair, and his 1930 Berlin leather couch (1964). This successful "designer and royalty" concept was imitated by many contemporary furniture companies.

furniture, Hans Knoll, Jens Risom
Wurlitzer image-1946
Wurlitzer Fuller, Paul 1946

In 1946 Wurlitzer introduced its Model 1015 jukebox, designed by industrial designer Paul Fuller. Replete with chrome, garish colors and bubbling lights, it became a classic and ultimate cultural typeform, dispensing music in every diner across the country for the next fifteen years. The first public "music boxes" were called Nickelodeons. In 1900 there were 2000 of them in Brooklyn alone. The term was a combination of "nickel" and "melody." These coin-operated phonographs, invented in 1889 by Louis Glass, used ear-tubes like musical hookah pipes, in order to hear the faint music. In 1927, the Automatic Music Company of Grand Rapids, MI, marketed the first contemporary "Automatic Phonograph," a coin-operated, multiple-selection phonograph which amplified the sound electrically, similarly to the way the radio does. They soon became informally known as "jukeboxes," as they were often used in the "juke joints" (sugar cane cutter hangouts) in the South. The Rudolph Wurlitzer Company (founded 1856) introduced its first "jukebox" in 1934, the 10-selection Model P-10, with a window showing the changing mechanism. The name "jukebox" (See PR 1927) only became accepted by the industry in 1939, when big band leader Glenn Miller was quoted using the term by Time magazine. In 1955, Raymond Loewy put the design curse on jukeboxes (as well as the US automotive industry), by calling Detroit's new cars "jukeboxes on wheels" in a speech to the Society of Automotive Engineers. Wurlitzer produced jukeboxes until the product became passé in the 1960s, and discontinued US production in 1974, but its German subsidiary continues production today.

Audio, Paul Fuller
Eames Chairs LCW and DCW
Eames Chairs LCW and DCW Eames, Charles 1947

These molded plywood chairs with compound curved seats and backs and rubber shock mounts were designed by Charles Eames and produced by the Herman Miller Furniture Company. The original concept was conceived by Charles Eames (1907-1978) in collaboration with architect Eero Saarinen (1910-1961) in 1940. In 1937, Eames had become head of the department of experimental design at Cranbrook Academy, and worked with Saarinen investigating plastics and furniture. Out of these efforts, Eames developed laminated and molded plywood splints, called Eames Splints, and in 1941 received an order for 5000 of them from the US Navy. Charles and his wife Ray produced the order in their Venice, CA studio and factory with the manufacturer, the Evans Products Company. In 1941 the Museum of Modern Art held a competition organized by Eliot Noyes to discover imaginative designers for contemporary living. Prizes were awarded to Eames and Saarinen for these chairs and storage pieces, by a jury that included Edgar Kaufmann Jr., Alfred H. Barr of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Eliot Noyes, Marcel Breuer, Frank Parrish, and architect Edward Durrell Stone. The chairs were shown in 1946 in a Museum of Modern Art exhibition, New Furniture Designed by Charles Eames. At the time, the chairs had only three legs, and problems of stability discouraged mass production. Early LCW (Low Chair-Wood) and DCW (Dining Chair-Wood) designs with four wooden legs were first produced in 1946 by Evans Products Company (Eames' wartime employer) and distributed by the Herman Miller Furniture Company. The tools were bought by George Nelson for Herman Miller in 1946 and took over manufacturing rights in 1949. Later versions with metal legs were produced in 1951, including the LCM (Low Chair-Metal) and DCM (Dining Chair-Metal) models. Matching dining and coffee tables were also produced. The line was produced until 1957, then re-issued in 1994.

Charles Eames, furniture, Herman Miller Furniture Company
Eames Fiberglass Chairs
Eames Fiberglass Chairs Eames, Charles 1948

The first successfully mass-produced molded plastic chairs, these were molded in fiberglass reinforced polyester and designed by Charles Eames (1907-1978) in 1948. They were introduced in 1951 by the Herman Miller Furniture Company and were produced in a variety of individual variations through 1995. This DAR (dining and desk chair) model illustrated has a lightweight structural wire base, often called the "Eiffel Tower". The RAR version had birch wood rockers on the bottom. Other standard models (DAX, LAX and SAX) had more traditional bent metal legs, some with swivel seats. This design was originated by Eames in a similar organically-shaped one-piece stamped metal bucket seat in his winning design in the Museum of Modern Art's international competition for Low Cost Furniture Design in 1948. The competition was in collaboration with furniture retailers like Herman Miller, who agreed to produce the winning designs commercially. In 1946, Eames' original molded plywood chairs had been made by Evans Products Company and distributed by Herman Miller. In 1947 George Nelson (1908-1986) bought the tooling for Herman Miller, which then continued production until 1957. In 1994, they were re-introduced. A companion line series of upholstered wire mesh chairs designed by Eames was also introduced by Herman Miller in 1951. Intended to reduce weight, the seats were formed from welded wire mesh shells, carefully shaped to conform to body contours. This shell supported separately added resilient cushion pads, either in one or two pieces, and in a variety of colors. Like the fiberglass line, they also came in six different bases including "Eiffel Tower" legs (DKR), standard legs (DKW), or rocker legs (RKR). The wire mesh shell seat concept was further developed dramatically in Diamond chairs (later known as Bertoia chairs) designed by Harry Bertoia (1915-1978) and introduced by Knoll in 1952 in both low and high-back models.

Charles Eames, furniture, Herman Miller Furniture Company
Tucker Tucker, Thomas 1948

A new US postwar car, the Tucker 48, was introduced by Preston Thomas Tucker (1903-1957), who envisioned it as the "Car of Tomorrow." The original 1946 Torpedo design by George Lawson (see below), had three headlights; one centered; the fenders and their respective headlights turning in concert with the steering wheel, which was also centered. Tucker then separately engaged Alex Tremulis (See below), and a competitive design team from Lippincott & Margulies which included Hal Bergstrom, Philip S. Egan (See below), Tucker Madawick, FIDSA, (see below), Budd Steinhilber, FIDSA (See below) and independent designer Read Viemeister, FIDSA who had just left L&M (See below). The final prototype, called the Tin Goose by Tucker, used Tremulis' body design and the front and rear ends of the L&M team. Interiors were designed by Audrey Moore Hodges (1918-1996) of Tremulis' staff. In 1949, Tucker was indicted by the SEC on 31 counts of fraud, theft and regulatory violations, and his plant was closed after producing a pilot run of 51 cars. He was acquitted in 1950, but no cars were sold on the market--- they were auctioned off. [editor's note: 47 of the 51 cars are known and accounted for today. The highest price ever paid for a Tucker is $500,000]. In 1988, the movie, Tucker: A Man and His Dream, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, was released. Philip S. Egan (b.1920) US industrial designer: Studied aeronautical engineering at Stewart Technical Institute, NY. Hired by J. Gordon Lippincott in 1946 and was assigned to Tucker '48 project, and in 1947 went to work with Alex Tremulis at Tucker. Worked with Sears, Roebuck & Company on a variety of products starting 1948. Opened own office, Phil Egan Design, in 1960. Published several books, including Design and Destiny: The Making of the Tucker Automobile. Office located in Fairfax, Calif. George Lawson, US automotive stylist: Graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art.

Preston Thomas Tucker, vehicle
Polaroid Model 95
Polaroid Model 95 Walter Dorwin Teague Associates 1948

The Polaroid "Land Camera", the first to develop its own prints in minutes, went on sale at Jordan Marsh in Boston for $89.95 and was an instant sensation. It was designed by Walter Dorwin Teague Associates, and produced by the Polaroid Land Company. The camera's inventor was Edwin H. Land (1909-1991), who got the idea while on vacation at the Grand Canyon in 1943. His daughter asked to see the picture he had just taken. Land perfected his system from a 1928 invention by Agfa in Germany which had never been commercialized. In 1929, Land had developed a process of polarizing plastic sheets to prevent glare, and in 1934, named the product Polaroid. He tried with no success to interest automakers in using his product in windshields, but finally sold the rights to the Americal Optical Company for sunglasses. By 1945, sales had reached $17 million, and Land was very well rewarded. Land's Polaroid Company in 1939 marketed an executive desk lamp, designed by Frank Del Guidice (1917-1993) of Teague's office. The design was very successful, and convinced Land of the value of not only industrial design, but of Teague's office in particular. Teague also designed the improved Polaroid Electric Eye 900 camera for Land in 1960. It sold for $159.95. In 1963, the first "instant" color film, developed by Elkan R. Blount and Howard G. Rogers of Polaroid, came onto the market, along with a new Automatic 100 to use it, designed by Henry Dreyfuss Associates. It was the first to allow development of one picture while shooting the next. In 1965, HDA designed Model 20, the Swinger, for teenagers. This was followed in 1973 by the Polaroid SX-70 camera, the first with SLR, designed by James M. Conner of Henry Dreyfuss Associates (HDA) and Edwin Land. It was to be the last product worked on By Henry Dreyfuss (1904-1972) before his untimely death. HDA also designed the Polaroid Pronto camera, introduced in 1976. The most recent Polaroid, the Vision Date +, was designed by John H.

Camera, Walter Dorwin Teague Associates
Ford Ford, Henry II 1949

This was one of the most successful post-war car designs, that Ford Motor Company from decline. Henry Ford II chose the 1949 Ford design by independent designer George W. Walker over a competing design by Ford Styling Chief Eugene "Bob" Gregorie. The design sold more than a million, and led to Walker being named to replace Gregorie in 1955. The design originated from a clay scale model submitted to Walker by a potential employee, Dick Caleal, but for years was credited to Joe Oros and Elwood Engel of Walker’s office. Caleal had previously been working for Raymond Loewy’s design staff for the Studebaker account under Bob Bourke. Studebaker in 1944 had hired Virgil Exner, previously with Loewy, to head an internal styling group, and had designed the famous 1947 Studebaker. There was hostility between Loewy and Exner, and Exner forced Burke to let go some Loewy staff, Caleal among them. Caleal then applied to Walker for a job. He was given the dimensions for the ’49 Ford by Walker, and told that if he came up with an acceptable design within three weeks, Walker would hire him. Caleal worked at his home in Mishawaka, Indiana, and built the clay model on his kitchen table, with considerable volunteer help from his former boss, Robert Bourke, along with Loewy/Studebaker employees John Bird, John Lutz, and Bob Koto. There are persistent rumors that the design was inspired by previous models designed by Loewy’s group for Studebaker, but were rejected by Virgil Exner, head of styling at Studebaker. Walker loved the Caleal design, hired him, and prepared a full-size mock-up. The aircraft inspired “spinner”-type grill, a feature of the design, is credited to Joe Oros of Walker’s office. Over many years, credit for the design was disputed by many of the participants, but in 2003, the Ford Motor Company officially recognized Dick Caleal as the designer of the 1949 Ford.

Ford Motor Company, vehicle
Margrethe Bowls
Margrethe Bowls Bernadotte, Sigvard 1950

This nesting set of five melamine mixing bowls in various sizes and colors were designed by Swedish designer Sigvard Bernadotte (1907-2002) and Danish architect Acton BjØrn (1910-1992). They were manufactured by Rosti of Denmark, a manufacturer of plastic products since 1944. Bernadotte & BjØrn was Scandinavia’s first industrial design firm, founded in 1950. Bernadotte was born in a Swedish royal household, and the design was named after Margrethe, born in 1940 as the daughter of King Frederik IX of Denmark and Queen Ingred, born Princess of Sweden. A talented and artistic person, Margrethe became Queen Margrethe II of Denmark in 1972 when her father died, the first female Danish Sovereign. Bernadotte began his career in film as a background builder, and worked for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in Hollywood as well as Sweden. Beginning in 1930, he designed over 150 elegant and modern silver pieces for the Georg Jensen workshop in Denmark. During a trip to America in the late 1930s, he met Raymond Loewy and Henry Dreyfuss and was inspired by industrial design. Bernadotte later became president of Icsid and was internationally known. In 1960, Copco Inc. was established in the U.S. by Sam Farber, and among the first products he had manufactured and distributed were the Margrethe bowls by Bernadotte & BjØrn. Similar versions of this classic design are still being produced.

Houseware, Sigvard Bernadotte
Schick Model “20” electric razor
Schick Model “20” electric razor Otto, Carl 1951

In 1951, the Industrial Designers Institute (IDI) a predecessor organization to IDSA, initiated the first national design awards. This was one of the product designs selected for an award. It was designed by Carl Otto in collaboration with Norman Gray, chief engineer at Schick. Previous electric shavers were all long and thin, in an “in-line” configuration, making them difficult to hold at the proper angle for shaving. The Schick “20” rearranged internal components to produce a wider, shorter, shape for an easier, more natural handgrip with superior handling, emphasized by a pattern of golf-ball-like dimples for secure gripping. The new configuration was widely copied and became the new typeform for all shavers.

Carl Otto, Electronics
The Lamb Handle
The Lamb Handle Lamb, Thomas B. 1952

In 1952, this line of cutlery was introduced into its Cutco product line by Alcas, a subsidiary formed by ALCOA and Case Cutlery in 1948. It featured the first scientifically-designed ergonomic handle known originally as the “hand perfect” handle and later as the Lamb Wedge-Lock handle (“It wedges the fingers apart and locks the thumb and fingers on place”) by Thomas B. Lamb, who started the handle design in 1941, studied 700 pairs of hands, patented the concept in 1945, and first exhibited it in 1946. In 1948, Lamb’s handles were featured in an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, and in 1954, featured articles about Lamb and his handles appeared both in the New Yorker and in the very first issue of Industrial Design magazine, giving him wide visibility. The design became known as the “Lamb Handle,” and Lamb, as the “Handle Man.” Versions of it were designed and licensed by Lamb for manufacture on pots, pans, hair dryers, bayonets, gavels, kitchen tools, squeegees, surgical instruments, suitcases, sickles, spoons, screwdrivers, police clubs and hundreds of other products. Thomas Babbitt Lamb (1897-1988) was born in New York City and, while working as a textile designer (he started at age 13), studied at the Art Students League and New York University, later establishing his own office in the textile design field. He also wrote and illustrated children’s books in the 1920s, and had many cartoons published. He had a monthly page in Good Housekeeping magazine called “Kiddyland Movies” which spawned a line of children’s products. Early on, Lamb became fascinated with hands through drawing and studying their anatomy while creating medical illustrations for surgeons. During World War II he developed an improved crutch arm-rest concept for crippled soldiers. Through subsequent intensive user research of hand forces, angles, curves and finger strength, he perfected his invention of the efficient and comfortable ergonomic handle for which he became well-known.

Houseware, Thomas B. Lamb
Flight Bath Scale
Flight Bath Scale DeFano, Don 1952

In 1952, this Model 1500 Flight bathroom scale was designed by Don DeFano, Richard Latham (see below) and Franz Wagner of Raymond Loewy Associates. It was introduced by the Borg-Erickson Company in 1953 at $15.00, and was later selected by Fortune magazine as one of the top 500 designs of all time. Richard S. Latham (1920-1991) was born in Kansas City, studied engineering at Kansas City Engineering School and design at Armour Institute under Mies van der Rohe 1940-1942. He started with Montgomery Ward in 1942 and joined Raymond Loewy's Chicago office in 1945 after military service, working on Greyhound buses and aircraft interiors. He later became Director of Design of this office. He spent five years with the German porcelain industry and was instrumental in establishing Rosenthal's Studio Line. In 1955 he founded Latham Tyler Jensen, Inc. with two other Loewy designers, Robert D. Tyler and George Jensen. He was president of ASID in 1959 and of ICSID in 1965. In about 1970 he founded Richard S. Latham & Associates, Inc., and specialized in product planning, pioneering in this area for industrial designers, and became design advisor for Bang & Olufsen of Denmark, and Land's End, which he helped to found. One of the earliest bath scales was the Madaco bathroom scale, produced by the Continental Scale Company of Chicago and named after its parent company, the Mason, Davis Stove Company, was introduced in 1917. It was cast iron and about 9" high. The first to incorporate an easily readable drum dial, it was conceived by Mathias J. Weber, superintendent of the Mason Davis plant, who was inspired by a car speedometer. He patented it in 1916. In 1921, Weber also patented the first clockface dial on a scale. In 1933, low profile (3" to 4" high) bath scales in sheet metal replaced these early boxlike scales. A more recent Borg-Erickson Corporation bath scale, the "Milano", was designed in 1973 by Steve Unger.

Don DeFano, Health
Studebaker Coupe
Studebaker Coupe Bourke, Robert E. 1953

This Studebaker Commander Starliner hard-top coupé design was acclaimed by the Museum of Modern Art not as a design, but as "a work of art." It became known as the "Loewy Coupé" or "Bourke Coupé." It was designed starting in 1951 by Robert E. Bourke (1916-1996), who headed Raymond Loewy Associates Studebaker operation in South Bend, IN from 1949 to 1955, with help from his assistants, Randy Faurot and Holden "Bob" Koto. A blend of the best features of European and American design, it was longer, wider and lower than previous models. A sedan derivation was also developed for production. Bourke had attended the Chicago Art Institute and started as a staff designer for Sears, Roebuck in 1935, joining Studebaker in 1940. In 1944 he moved to Loewy's independant group in South Bend, and worked with Virgil Exner (1909-1973) on Loewy's famous 1947 post-war Studebaker design which astounded the market. Bourke replaced Exner as head of the Loewy group at Studebaker, after Loewy fired Exner for conspiring with Studebaker Engineering VP Roy E. Cole to by-pass Loewy in the design of the 1947 models. Loewy had started with Studebaker in 1936 as a consultant for exteriors, and also designed Studebaker's last car before its demise, the Avanti of 1962.

Robert E. Bourke, vehicle
Servel Wunderbar
Servel Wunderbar Dailey, Donald 1953

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.

Donald Dailey, Houseware, Inc., Servel
Bissell Sweepmaster
Sweepmaster, Bissell Balmer, James G. 1954

In 1954, the Sweepmaster, designed by James G. Balmer, Jr., IDSA and Frederick W. Hertzler; and engineered by Carl B. Denny, all of Harley Earl Associates, Inc., was introduced by the Bissell Carpet Sweeper Company. The Sweepmaster won a design award in 1955 from the Industrial Designers Institute (IDI), which was the only US design organization presenting national design awards between 1951 and 1965. The Bissell sweeper was invented in 1876 by Anna and Melville Bissell in Grand Rapids, MI. Thirty years later, in 1906, over 3000 per day were being produced, and Bissell announced that its sweepers were "the only brand advertised nationally to consumers". This was two years before Hoover introduced its first vacuum cleaner. A more recent Bissell design, the Trio Vac, a lightweight stick vac designed by INNO design, Inc. and Bissell Industrial Design, was introduced by Bissell in 1992. Harley J. Earl (1893-1969) automotive designer, was born in Hollywood, where his coach-maker father in 1908 founded the Earl Automobile Works, and from 1911, built custom car bodies for film stars. Don Lee, a West Coast Cadillac distributor, bought the company (including Harley) in 1919. Earl's talents were soon recognized by Larry Fisher, Cadillac Division president, and Earl was sent to Detroit in 1925 where he established GM's Art and Color Department in 1927. He became VP in 1940, and dominated GM design policies until his retirement in 1958, naming William Mitchell as his successor. In 1945 he established his own firm, Harley Earl. Inc., which in 1964 merged with Walter B. Ford Design Associates, Inc. to form Ford & Earl Design Associates. James Gilmore Balmer, Jr., IDSA (b. 1922) is a US industrial designer born in Pennsylvania and graduated from Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1943. He worked from 1946 to 1959 for Harley Earl Associates, Inc., serving in a variety of positions, and ending as executive vice-president.

Houseware, James G. Balmer, Jr.
Ford Thunderbird
Ford Thunderbird Burnett, Bill 1955

Ford's Thunderbird, its first sports car, was designed by Bill Burnett, William F. Boyer, and Franklin Quick Hershey. It was introduced in 1955 to compete with Chevrolet's 1953 Corvette sports car, GM's answer to sporty European imports. In their early forms, both cars were mostly caricatures of sports cars, concerned with superficial connotations of speed and maneuverability than with their mechanical accomplishments. This same year, 1955, George Walker was appointed Ford's Vice President of Styling. George W. Walker (1908-1993) was a US automotive designer. He was trained at Otis Institute, LA in 1916, continued at Cleveland School of Art, and headed his own industrial design office in Detroit by 1930s. His firm worked for Nash (1937-1945) and in product design as well. His role at Ford began in 1945 as an independent consultant working on the 1949 Ford, Ford's first true post-war model. He became Ford's first Vice President of Styling in 1955, where he remained until his retirement in 1962. Upon his appointment at Ford, his private office became Lawrence H. Wilson Associates, Wilson being an associate of Walker's since 1942. In 1957, Ford added two tiny back seats to the T-bird, and sales shot up 50 percent, in spite of the first post-war recession of 1958. The "personal luxury car" was created, when in the 1958 model, the expanded T-bird was loaded with luxury and plushiness. It was a distinguished car. Motor Trend magazine dutifully reported mechanical shortcomings of the 1960 model, but added, "It is a car apart, and like royalty, rarely is required to count for ordinary deficiencies…the Thunderbird is different, and that is all it has ever had to be." In 1962, Ford's new head of Styling, Eugene Bordinat, brought the new neoclassical look (taut, razor-edged sculpting) to the Thunderbird, including special editions with wire wheels and fiberglass tonneaus. Eugene Bordinat, Jr.

Bill Burnett, vehicle
Karman-Ghia Coupé
Karman-Ghia Coupé Ghia, Carrozzeria 1956

Volkswagen of America (just established) introduced its Karmann Ghia coupé in the US. An alternative sleek new body style for the standard Beetle chassis, it was designed by Carrozzeria Ghia in Turin, Italy. Sticker price was $2395. Production of the 1200 coupé began in August, 1955. A convertible was added in August 1957, and both were produced for about ten years. In 1956, only 70,000 Beetles had been produced for the US (19 million were produced by 1978). Though power plants were identical (36 hp air-cooled flat-four opposed engine), the more aerodynamic Ghiastyling resulted in a significant improvement in gas milage, averaging an additional 4 to 5 mpg, and increasing the top speed from 67 to 71 mph. The Ghia averaged 35 mpg at a speed of 60 mph, compared with average domestic milage of 16 mpg; or more than double. But in those days, US drivers did not consider fuel economy as a big deal, with gas at 30 cents a gallon. That awareness did not arrive till the mid 1970s. Even so, annual savings to the average user (10,000 miles) was an impressive $250. The Ghiaalso had 100% better driver's vision than the Beetle, and of course, an absolutely beautifully- made body with a rich, sleek appearance. For those who complained about the "ugly" Beetle, this answer by Volkswagen left them speechless!

Carrozzeria Ghia, vehicle
Chrysler Look Forward
Chrysler Look Forward Exner, Virgil 1957

A complete new line of Chrysler Corporation cars, including Plymouth, Dodge, DeSoto, Chrysler and Imperial, were designed by Virgil Exner (see below), along with Henry T. King, H.T. Bannister, Clifford C. Ross, Carl Reynolds and Robert E. Bingham. It was called the "Forward Look," Chrysler's entry into a race with General Motors to see who can build the biggest tail fins. The "Forward Look" was a big hit. Virgil Max Exner (1909-1973) was a US automotive designer, born in Ann Arbor, MI. He studied art at Notre Dame and started as advertising artist at an agency handling the Studebaker account. He was hired by Harley Earl at General Motors in 1933 and became styling chief for Pontiac, where he designed the famous "Silver Streak" hood ornament. In 1937 he went to the office of Raymond Loewy, and in 1939 was assigned by Loewy to head the Studebaker account in South Bend, with the major role in design of the postwar Studebaker (introduced in 1947). But in 1944, he was fired by Loewy and hired directly by Studebaker. In 1948 Exner returned to Detroit to work for Chrysler, was named Director of Styling in 1953 and developed their "Forward Look." He became VP of Chrysler in 1957 and served in that capacity until 1961. Why did cars have useless tail fins? Well, fifteen years earlier, in 1942, Lockheed's new P-38 Lightning fighter plane entered service in WWII. It was designed by Clarence "Kelly" Johnson and had three fuselages: the middle with a cockpit and pilot, and a right and left fuselage, each with an engine and individual tail fin. It was a unique and dramatic design for fighter planes, recognized instantly around the world. In about 1947, Harley Earl, head of GM styling since 1927, was inspired by the P-38's tail-fins, and incorporated similar dual fins on an experimental concept convertible which would in 1951 be publicly exhibited and called "Le Sabre".

vehicle, Virgil Exner
The Museum Watch
The Museum Watch Horwitt, Nathan 1958

In 1947, Nathan Horwitt designed a wristwatch with a plain black face without numerals and a white disk marking the 12 o-clock position. The following year, his design was produced, without credit or compensation, by Zenith Movado. It was a prime example of design piracy, and Horwitt sued, but justice would take 27 years. In the meantime, the design was placed in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in 1960, and become known as "The Museum Watch.". In 1975, Movado finally settled with Horwitt for $29,000 and after Horwitt’s death, Movado heavily promoted Horwitt and his classic "Museum Watch." Nathan George Horwitt (1898-1990) was already a well-known designer before the Movado watch. He had designed the Beta chair for the Howell Company in 1930, which was displayed in the famous New York Machine Art exhibit in 1934, along with work by other pioneer industrial designers like Walter Dorwin Teague. The Movado watch was not the only famous watch in design history. In 1904 Frenchman Louis Cartier designed a special wristwatch for air pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont, a Brazilian living in Paris who built a series of fourteen single seat airplanes and achieved the first European successful flight. In 1918, Cartier designed the Tank Watch in honor of members of the US tank corps for their defense of France during the war. The Tank Watch became enormously popular in the US. Then in 1932, Henry Dreyfuss designed a tabletop alarm clock produced by Westclox, followed in 1939 by his classic Big Ben alarm clock for them. In 1949, a unique "ball" wall clock with individual projecting balls radially arranged to represent each hour, was manufactured by the Howard Miller Clock Company. It was sometimes called the "atomic" clock for its resemblance to then-popular atom symbology. Designed by George Nelson in 1947, it was the first of many modern clock designs he designed for the company.

Nathan Horwitt, watch
The Secretary
The Secretary Highberger, Samuel M. 1958

The Secretary, a copying machine, designed by Samuel M. Highberger, 32, of Harley Earl, Inc. for 3M Co.,Thermo-Fax Division, was introduced by the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (3M) in 1958. The product was awarded one of three National Awards and Medals annually by the Industrial Designers Institute (IDI) in 1958. Highberger was the youngest designer to ever receive the award for "Excellence in product design." Samuel Highberger, IDSA (b. 1926). A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University in 1949, Sam worked from 1950 to 1959 for Sundberg & Ferar in Detroit, MI. In 1965, his design for the Clark Equipment Co.,"Cortez" motorhome, was chosen for the London, England ,"Design in America" exhibit. From 1959 to 1985, he was Product Design Director for Ford & Earl Design Associates in Warren, MI. Following that, Sam led his own consulting business, Highberger Design, in Birmingham, MI. In 1968-69, his Massey-Ferguson MF350 Hydraulic Excavator was selected the "Best Engineered Industrial Product" by the American Iron & Steel Institute. He won the same award in 1972-73 for the Lorain Div. of Koehring Co.'s MC-75H hydraulic truck crane. In 1969, his 3M Company Filmac 400 Microfilm Reader/Printer was included in IDSA's "Design in America" book. And in 1977, four of his Massey Ferguson Construction Machinery machines and the Lorain 75H Mobile Truck Crane were selected as the "Best Product Designs of the last 10 years" for the "Design in Michigan" exhibit in Detroit. After leaving Ford & Earl Associates in 1985, Sam continued his consultant work in Birmingham, MI as Hi Design Inc. until his retirement to Hendersonville, NC.

office, Samuel M. Highberger
Xerox 914 image--1946
Xerox 914 Copier Balmer, James G. 1959

The first automatic office copier to make copies on plain paper, the 914, is introduced by Haloid Xerox. A floor-mounted device, it was designed by James G. Balmer of Armstrong-Balmer & Associates, in collaboration with Don Shepardson, John Rutkus and Hal Bogdenoff of Xerox, who had developed an engineering prototype. Balmer had recently left Harley Earl, Inc., where he had been director since 1945, to establish Armstrong-Balmer & Associates in 1958. At Earl, Balmer had been involved in the Secretary copy machine designed for Thermofax and introduced by 3M in 1958, and Haloid Xerox had been impressed with the design, engaging Balmer to consult on the final design of the 914. Xerography, a process of producing images using electricity, was invented in 1938 by physicist-lawyer Chester Floyd "Chet" Carlson (1906-1968), and an engineering friend, Otto Kornei. Carlson entered into a research agreement with the Batelle Memorial Institute in 1944, when he and Kornei produced the first operable copy machine. He sold his rights in 1947 to the Haloid Company, a wet-chemical photocopy machine manufacturer, founded in 1906 in Rochester, NY. The first commercial xerographic copier, the Xerox Model A, was introduced in 1949 by Haloid, which had the previous year announced the refined development of xerography in collaboration with Battelle Development Corporation, of Columbus, OH. Manually operated, it was also known as the Ox Box. An improved version, Camera #1, was introduced in 1950. Haloid had been re-named Haloid Xerox in 1958, and, after the instant success of the 914, when the name Xerox soon became synonymous with "copy", would become the Xerox Corporation. In 1963, Xerox introduced the first desktop copier to make copies on plain paper, the 813. It also was designed by Jim Balmer of Armstrong-Balmer & Associates, and won a 1964 Certificate of Design Merit from the Industrial Designers Institute (IDI).

James G. Balmer, office, Xerox
Chevrolet Corvair
Chevrolet Corvair Hill, Ron 1960

Chevrolet's new compact car, the Corvair, designed by Ron Hill and GM Styling Staff, entered the market in 1960, and received a coveted annual design award from the Industrial Designers Institute (IDI). To most designers, it was a welcome innovative design response to compact European imports, and hailed as a pointed departure from the tail fin and chrome excesses that dominated the previous decade in Detroit (see 1957 Chrysler "Forward Look").

Up to now, Detroit cars came in only one size—big. By contrast, the Corvair was compact, economical, and simple in design; represented the styling sea change many designers had been hoping for—functionality.

The Corvair was GM’s version of the rear-engined Volkswagen, which by 1960 had demonstrated the appeal of imported compact low-cost cars in US markets. The Corvair had a 6-cylinder, horizontal engine and conventional suspension. But the independent swing axles in the rear produced dangerously unstable steering.

Ralph Nader singled it out as "one of the nastiest-handling cars ever built." in his 1965 book, Unsafe at Any Speed, which criticized the absence of automotive safety standards. The very next year, the government established the first safety standards for US cars.

Initially, Corvair sales were successful in cutting into import sales, and captured a huge 42 percent of the new car market. But at mid-year, 1960, Chevrolet brought out an upscale Corvair line, the Monza, which soon accounted for more than half of all Corvair sales. It became clear that customers were still attracted to comfort, convenience, and styling. It was concluded that the initial appeal of the Corvair was not its frugality, but its difference from the previous monotonous line-up of standard family sedans.

So by 1961 the Corvair engine was made more powerful, and by 1962, the Monza Spyder model sported a 150-horsepower, turbocharged engine.

Chevrolet, Ron Hill, vehicle
IBM Selectric I Typewriter
IBM Selectric I Typewriter Noyes, Eliot 1961

In 1961 IBM introduced a revolutionary electric typewriter, the Selectric I, which replaced the standard typebars with a moving interchangeable spherical "golf ball" printing element, while the carriage remained fixed. Development began in 1951, and the sculptured housing was designed starting 1959 by Eliot Noyes, FIDSA (see below). In 1971, a later version, Selectric II, entered the market. By 1975 Selectrics accounted for about 75 percent of the US electric typewriter market, which soon after went south when typewriters were increasingly replaced by personal computers. Typewriters were developed in 1872 by Christopher Latham Sholes (1819-1890) and James Densmore. They also developed the QUERTY keyboard to slow down the typing speed so that the mechanical linkages (typebars) would not jam. In 1932, Dr. August Dvorak proposed a more practical typewriter keyboard with the most-used letters in the middle bar, but opposition to change by professional typists and teachers prevented its adoption. In 1932, the Olivetti Company in Italy introduced the first portable typewriter, the MPI. It was also the first to be "styled", by Aldo Magnelli and his brother,Roberto , an abstract artist. In 1935, Ollivetti's Studio 42 typewriter, designed by Alexander (Xanti) Schavinsky, a former Bauhaus student, and architects Luigi Figini and Gino Pollini, debuted. It set the typeform of the modern typewriter. That same year, the Swiss firm of Ernest Paillard introduced the first inexpensive portable typewriter, the Hermes, engineered by Giuseppe Prezioso. It became the most popular choice of journalists and reporters. The electric typewriter was invented in 1920 by James Smathers, but IBM marketed the first commercially successful one in 1935. In 1936, Olivetti engaged Italian industrial designer Marcello Nizzoli (1887-1969) for all its typewriter design. He designed the Lexicon 80 in 1948, and the famous Lettera 22 in 1950.

Eliot Noyes, IBM, office
Studebaker Avanti
Studebaker Avanti Loewy, Raymond 1962

With the company on its last legs in 1961, new Studebaker president Sherwood H. Egbert called on Raymond Loewy (1893-1986) in desperation to design an innovative sports car. Loewy had worked with Studebaker since 1936, designing, with Virgil Exner (1909-1973) and Clair Hodgeman (1911-1992), the lightweight 1939 Champion, the highly successful 1947 postwar models (with Exner), and, with Robert E. Bourke (1916-1996), the acclaimed 1953 hard-top Starliner and Starlight coupes. Demanding (and getting) complete freedom of design, Loewy retreated to Palm Springs with designers Bob Andrews, Tom Kellogg, and John Epstein, working feverishly for 40 days to complete the design, which Loewy named the Avanti. The sleek fiberglass body was put onto a Lark frame, and demonstrated outstanding speed performance on the track. Upon introduction in 1962, the public was so excited that demand immediately exceeded production capacity and many sales were lost. In 1963, Studebaker folded, but Avanti tools and production line were purchased and salvaged by Nathan Altman and Leo Newman. who formed the Avanti Motor Corporation. In 1965, they produced 45 Avanti IIs privately in South Bend, selling them for $6500. Production was low, but by the time of Altman's death in 1976, had increased to 150 cars a year. The company was purchased in 1982 by Stephen Blake, who added a convertible to the line in 1985 but a paint-peeling problem forced the company into Chapter 11. It was sold in 1986 to Mike Kelley and John Cafaro, who moved production facilities to Youngstown, OH in 1987. In 1990, all but a handful of employees were laid off. Increasing governmental regulations were simply too much for such a small company, and in 1991, the Avanti quietly died after nearly 30 years on the scene.

Raymond Loewy, vehicle
Kodak Instamatic 100
Kodak Instamatic 100 Zagara, Frank A. 1963

In 1963, Kodak introduced its Instamatic 100 camera designed by Frank A. Zagara of Kodak staff. It could be loaded with film cartridges ready to shoot. Price was $15.95. The Instamatic won a Certificate of Design Merit from the Industrial Designers Institute, and was produced until 1966. Kodak cameras have been around since 1888, when George Eastman (1854-1932) invented his original camera and founded the Eastman Dry Plate Company. When the camera's film pack was used, it was sent back to the factory for development of the photos. In 1889, celluloid was. modified by a Kodak chemist, Henry Reichenback, into photographic film which could be made into rolls. Eastman's 1895 "Pocket Kodak" camera and 1897 "Folding Pocket Kodak" set the typeform for all roll film cameras, and his $1.00 "Brownie" box camera of 1900 popularized home cameras. The "Brownie" got its name from Eastman''s first designer, Frank Brownell, who made all wooden camera parts for Eastman until 1902. Eastman's best known designer was Walter Dorwin Teague--Eastman was his first client in 1928. Teague designed the 1934 "Baby Brownie", which also sold at $1.00. Eastman Kodak introduced 35mm film in 1935, Kodachrome film in 1936, and Kodacolor film (for prints) in 1944. In 1945, Kodak established its own design department, headed by Theodore Clement working as assistant to Teague, who continued as a consultant. Clement soon added Arthur Crapsey, Jr., and later, Fred Knowles and Ken Van Dyke, as employees. In 1964, Kodak introduced a low-profile Model 800 Carousel slide projector, designed by David E. Hansen of Kodak staff headed by Arthur Crapsey, Jr. An earlier Model 550, somewhat bulkier and designed by Richard Olson of Kodak's staff, appeared in 1961. The Model 800 was produced through 1972 and established the typeform for projectors for the rest of the century. A Pocket Instamatic series of cameras, designed by staff, were introduced in 1972 by Eastman Kodak Company.

Camera, Frank A. Zagara, Kadak
Model 800 Kodak Carousel
Model 800 Kodak Carousel Harvey, D.M. 1964

Kodak’s carousel projector was a dramatic innovation that established a new typeform for projectors. Previous projectors used linear slide trays below the lens that lifted slides into position. Kodak engineers D.M. Harvey and W.P. Ewald reversed the process to allow slides to fall by gravity into position from a tray above the lens. Kodak industrial designers Art Crapsey and David Hansen meanwhile worked on sketches and working drawings for this concept. Ewald built a top-loading tray prototype to test the concept in 1956. In 1957, Hansen hit on the concept of a round tray in a sketch, and a patent was granted to him. Kodak industrial designer Dick Olsen carried on the development, and in 1959, final drawings were completed for a prototype and appearance model. The final product, the Model 550, was introduced in 1961, and swept the market. Still, some of its features were extraneous to operation, adding costs. So it was redesigned to make it easier to manufacture and use by Crapsey and Hansen, and the resulting model 800 (illustrated above) was introduced in 1964. This model set the classic typeform. After 1972, later models of the carousel were introduced by Kodak, but with little change in its compact appearance and function. Designers of this era had to prepare portfolios of 35mm slides, and they were used in thousands of client presentations. But in 2004, when digital photography finally killed the 35mm slide market, the last Kodak carousel projector was produced. Many older designers are now converting their lifetime of slides into digital storage through CDs or DVDs

Camera, D.M. Harvey, Kodak
Royal Traveller Attaché Case
Royal Traveller Attaché Case Samhammer, Claire 1965

This elegant Royal Traveller attaché case, designed by Claire Samhammer of Design West, Inc. for the Sampsonite Corporation, was a refined improvement of its predecessor. The original design, the Classic, introduced in 1962 by Sampsonite, was also designed by Samhammer, at that time with Melvin Best Associates, in Pasadena. CA. With its flush latches and slim, chrome-trimmed, charcoal grey case, the Classic indeed became a classic among the grey flannel suit crowd, replacing the traditional box-like attaché cases which had remained essentially unchanged in design for years before. Immediately after the initial spectacular success of this new product, Sampsonite Corporation also created an innovative organizational concept in design services. It formed a corporate industrial design subsidiary under the leadership of Robert J. Fujioka, formally with Melvin Best Associates, named it Design West, Inc., and gave it the unusual authority and flexibility to solicit and provide independent design services in the open market, as well as providing design for all Sampsonite products. This was at a time when many design consultants referred derogatively to corporate designers as "captive designers." Claire Samhammer also joined the new organization and proceeded to design the Royal Traveller. Claire had studied at Pratt Institute.

Claire Samhammer, luggage
Amana Radarange
Amana Radarange Raytheon Manufacturing Company 1967

Amana Refrigeration, a subsidiary of Raytheon Manufacturing Company, in 1967 introduced this first compact microwave oven, called the Radarange. It was a 115 V countertop model, retailing for $495, and cooked hamburgers in 35 seconds. The compact size was made possible by a small, efficient electron tube, developed in 1964 by the Japanese, which replaced older, bulkier tubes called magnetrons. In 1968, tests by Walter Reed Hospital confirmed many fears that microwaves did, in fact, leak out of the ovens, but Federal standards set in 1971 resolved the problem. By 1994, ninety per cent of all US homes had such an appliance. The first microwave ovens for home consumer use were introduced by Tappan in 1955, but few purchased them due to their large size (about like an electric stove) and high cost. Microwave ovens were a spin-off of wartime RADAR, and invented accidentally by Percy LeBaron Spencer of Raytheon while working on a magnetron (radar tube) near the end of the war. As he passed the device, which generated microwaves, he noticed that a candy bar in his pocket began to melt. He experimented with eggs (they exploded) and popcorn (it popped). So, a "high frequency dielectric heating apparatus" was patented in 1945 by Raytheon, and a prototype built. The first microwave oven for commercial purposes (ships and hotels) was introduced in 1947 by Raytheon, and named the Radar Range. It stood five and a half feet tall, weighed 750 pounds, and cost $3000. RADAR (Radio Detection And Ranging) was perfected in the UK by Sir Robert Watson-Watt in 1934 and 1935, who is credited with its invention. It was secretly used by the Allies during World War II, starting in 1940, using a new magnetron (electronic tube) just developed by John Randall and Boot, Henry Albert Howard (1917-1983) British physicist of the UK. Later, an improved magnetron was developed by Percy Spencer of Raytheon in the US, enabling the doubling of production.

Houseware, Raytheon
Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet
Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet Walter Dorwin Teague Associates 1969

The Boeing 747 "jumbo-jet" made its first public flight in 1969. It carried 342-490 passengers and was 231 feet long. Interiors were designed by Walter Dorwin Teague Associates (WDTA). It went into transatlantic service in early 1970 for Pan American Airlines. The ancestry of the 747 started with a military version (C-97) of the B-29 (which dropped the atomic bombs on Japan in 1945). In 1946, a commercial version of the C-97 became the Stratocruiser, the first post-war luxury-class transatlantic airliner, which carried 55 to 100 passengers. Interiors were designed by Frank Del Guidice of WDTA. This was probably the first commercial plane with interiors by an industrial design office, and for this purpose, WDTA established a permanent design office at the Boeing plant in Seattle. The Stratocruiser was followed by a modification of the Boeing KC-135 Air Force tanker jet developed in 1955 for Pan Am commercial use. Again, Del Guidice and WDTA designed interiors and livery, as well as some exterior contours. A later version of this in 1958 became known as the Boeing 707, the first transatlantic commercial jet. It had four engines and seated 147-181 passengers. WDTA again did the interiors, but Henry Dreyfuss Associates developed those for American Airlines, and Raymond Loewy whipped up interiors and livery for the famous Air Force 1version in 1963, first used by President John Kennedy. The two-engined Boeing 737 debuted in 1967 with a capacity of 108-189, and became the best-selling jetliner in aviation history. Interiors, of course, were by WDTA. The 747 came next in 1969. In 1982, the 767 and the fuel-efficient 757 appeared. The latter seated 194-231. WDTA interiors on both. In 1988, a later model of the 747 (747-400) seated 420-566.

Transportation, Walter Dorwin Teague Associates
Canon Pocketronic Calculator
Canon Pocketronic Calculator Haggerty, Pat 1971

This collaboration between Canon and Texas Instruments (TI) is the first handheld battery-powered electronic calculator. Introduced in the US in 1971, but a year earlier in Japan, it was preceded by nearly five years by a “skunk-works” project at TI. Before it, electronic calculators were large, heavy machines. Pat Haggerty, then-president of TI, conceived the project and appointed Jack Kilby to lead it. Kilby had developed the first integrated circuit device in 1958. Kilby added to his team Jerry Merryman, a new engineer at TI with expertise in digital design; and James Van Tassel, an expert in the creation of prototype hardware. Van Tassel designed the keyboard. The result was small in size (4” X 6” X 1 ¾ “), weighing just under 3 ½ pounds. It was powered by ni-cad rechargeable batteries which made up 1.8 pounds of the total. The machine printed out to thermal tape, readable through a small plastic magnifying window. It retailed at $345. That same year, other calculators were on the market, including Sharp, Busicom, SCM, Bowmar and Sanyo. By 1975, an avalanche of pocket calculators forced Keuffel & Esser to stop making slide rules, the traditional engineer’s friend since Englishman William Oughtred invented the mechanical tool in 1632. 100 Years of Design consists of excerpts from a book by Carroll M. Gantz, FIDSA, entitled, Design Chronicles: Significant Mass-produced Designs of the 20th Century, published August 2005 by Schiffer Publications, Ltd.

Computer, Pat Haggerty
Ergon Chair
Ergon Chair Stumpf, William 1976

The Ergon chair, with an innovative gas-cylinder post mount to absorb impact of "heavy" sitters, was designed by William Stumpf for Herman Miller, Inc. and introduced in 1976. William Stumpf (b. 1936) is a US furniture designer based in Minneapolis. He received a Bachelor's degree in industrial design at University of Illinois in 1959, and a Masters from University of Wisconsin in 1968. He has worked with the Herman Miller Furniture Company since the early 1970s, using ergonomic research to "make a beautiful chair comfortable." Among many others he designed, along with Don Chadwick, were the Equa chair, introduced in 1984, and the Aeron chair of 1995, both for Herman Miller. The latter was named a "Design of the Decade" by IDSA in 2000. These chairs have joined the ranks of classic design chairs in the last half of the 20th century, which include Niels Diffrient's Jefferson Task Chair of 1984 for SunarHauseman; the Charles Eames fiberglass chair for Herman Miller (see 1948); the Jens Risom Chair for Knoll (see 1943); Harry Bertoia's Diamond Chairs of 1952 for Knoll; Eero Saarinen's Pedestal Chair of 1956 and Womb Chair of 1948 for Knoll; Eames molded plywood chairs in 1947, 1951and 1953, and his lounge chair and ottoman of 1956, all for Herman Miller; and Vernor Panton's one-piece stacking fiberglass chair of 1967 for Herman Miller.

furniture, William Stumpf
The Dustbuster
The Dustbuster Gantz, Carroll 1979

The Dustbuster, the most successful product in Black & Decker history, was introduced in January, 1979. It was designed by Carroll Gantz, FIDSA, when he was Manager of the B&D US Consumer Power Tool Division’s Industrial Design Department. The Dustbuster created a new mass-market category of cordless, rechargeable hand-held vacuum cleaners, set the visual type-form for the new category and created a new household product business for B&D, enabling them to purchase General Electric’s entire Bridgeport, CT Housewares business in 1984. The two organizations merged in Shelton, CT and Gantz became Director of Design. Over a million Dustbusters were sold in its first year, four times that of the traditional hand-held vac market. Competitors soon flooded the market with dozens of imitations, a number of which were successfully litigated against by B&D because of a design patent covering its unique appearance and configuration. By 1985, the hand-held market was 6 to 7 million units annually, 90% of which was cordless, and 85% of that was B&D. By 1987, B&D’s annual sales were $1.791 billion, five times what they had been in 1972. The Dustbuster became an icon of popular culture. When the Smithsonian Institute acquired an original model in 1995, 100 millon had been sold. By 2004, 25 years after launch, total sales of it or its B&D descendants (there have been five or six redesigns) may be as high as 150 million, half again as many as the total number of VW Beetles sold in 60 years. In 1998, Windemere Durable Holdings acquired the B&D Household Product Business, and established Applica Consumer Products, Inc. It is the exclusive licensee for B&D Household products in North, South, and Central America. But B&D retained one important household product for itself—the Dustbuster, which continues to lead the hand-held vac category.

Black & Decker, Carroll Gantz, Houseware
Narrow Aisle Reach Truck
Narrow Aisle Reach Truck Tompkins, David 1980

The Crown Rider Reach Series Trucks were designed by David Tompkins, IDSA, Frank Wilgus, Nilo-Rodis and David B. Smith, of Richardson/Smith, Inc and Harold Stammen and Jerry Pulskamp of Crown Controls Corporation. The design embodied the pioneering concept of the rider standing sideways for enhanced visibility; the one-hand joystick control of lift, direction, and speed; and the corporate “look” of Crown products that continues today. The design won one of the first IDEA awards in 1980, and was named by IDSA as a “Design of the Decade” in 1990. Since retiring from Fitch PLC—with which Richardson/Smith merged in 1989—David Smith has continued to work with Crown Equipment, extending a long-time relationship dating back to 1960. In 1995, IDSA honored Tom Bidwell, executive vice-president of Crown Equipment Company, with a Special Award for “notable results; creative and innovative concepts; and long-term benefits to the profession, its educational functions and society at large.”

David Tompkins, vehicle
Motorola DynaTAC 8000x
Motorola DynaTAC 8000x Rudy Krolopp’s design team 1984

The world’s first commercial handheld cellular phone, the Motorola DynaTAC 8000x, received approval from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1983, and was introduced to the public in 1984 at a retail price of $3,995 after testing in the Chicago market. The 28-ounce phone was designed by Motorola’s industrial design team headed by manager Rudy Krolopp. The concept of a cordless phone evolved from the Motorola SCR 536 “Walkie-Talkie” developed for military use in 1943. In 1972, Motorola demonstrated a portable cellular telephone system to the FCC, using a device developed by Martin Cooper. In 1989, Motorola debuted its MicroTAC phone, the world’s smallest and lightest at 10.7 ounces. It was also designed by Rudy Krolopp’s design team. By 1996, Motorola’s StarTAC weighed only 3.1 ounces and fit into the palm of the hand.

Motorola, phone, Rudy Krolopp
Apple IIc Computer
Apple IIc Computer Apple Inc. 1984

Introduced in April 1984, the IIc was Apple’s first compact model, the first with user-friendly icon graphics, and the first with significant visual design quality. It was cited as one of the best designs of the year by Time magazine. Just three month before, Apple had introduced the Macintosh computer, the first to use a Graphical User Interface (GUI), running at 8 MHz, with 128 kB RAM, and was the first to use 400 kB 3.5” disks. The Apple IIc was a refinement of the original Apple II computer, introduced in 1977 when the company was founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wosniac. The Apple II was the first mass-produced personal computer, featuring Visicalc, the first spreadsheet program. It remained the best-selling computer until IBM entered the market in 1981. The Apple IIc design included a much-refined mouse design engineered by consultants Hovey-Kelly, founded by Stanford University product design graduated Dean Hovey and David Kelley. Their firm later evolved into IDEO design firm, founded in 1991. The IIc had a speed of 1 MHz,128kB RAM (expandable to 1 MB, a 32 kB ROM, and a floppy drive storage of 140 kB. Apple’s improved external appearance on both the IIc and Macintosh was a result of collaboration between frogdesign and Apple staff. Helmut Esslinger’s frogdesign firm was founded in Germany in 1969. The name came from FRG (the Federal Republic of Germany.) In 1982 Esslinger opened a branch office in California in response to Steve Jobs invitation to work on his NeXT workstation, introduced in 1988. Jobs left Apple in 1977 and founded NeXT in 1985.

Apple, Computer
Ford Taurus
Ford Taurus Telnack, Jack 1986

The Ford Taurus and its companion, the Mercury Sable, were designed by Jack Telnack, Fritz Mayhew and the Ford staff. The design changed the failing fortunes of the US auto companies by creating a new “aero” look, which was characterized by softer, rounder, more aerodynamic forms than previous Detroit styles. Some called it the “jelly bean” or “flying potato” because of its rounded look. For years, Detroit had been criticized for the sharp, angular and contorted metal forms that were the residual result of the Harley Earl influence of the 1950s. Car designers were rebelling against the marketing-dominated repetition of previous, angular designs. Ford Chairman Donald E. Peterson recalled, “I set the design staff free to create cars that tickled their fancy and in came the ‘aero’ look of the 1980s.” Ford spent $2.9 billion to develop the Taurus. It was a risk because of its advanced styling, and many Ford executives feared the worst. If it had failed, Ford would have had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Motor Trend praised the design and called it “the shape of tomorrow.” Popular Mechanics described Tauruses as a “totally new breed of car.” The public thought so too. It was a huge success. It became a popular family sedan when minivans were still young and SUVs did not yet exist. It sold 263,450 its first year. Within three years, a million had been sold. In 1990, it received IDSA’s “Design of the Decade” award. From 1992 to 1996, it was the best-selling car in the US but faded over the last decade as imports took over as sales leaders. Telnak, an Art Center graduate of 1958, had worked on the fastback version of the Mustang in the late 1960s, and then with Ford of Europe on the 1977 Fiesta. In 1983, he focused on the design of the 1983 Thunderbird, which introduced softer “aero” forms.

Ford, Jack Telnack, vehicle
NeXT Computer
NeXT Computer Jobs, Steve 1988

NeXT, Inc. was founded in 1985 by Steve Jobs and a number of former Apple employees, after Jobs resigned from Apple. Jobs engaged Paul Rand to design a brand identity and a 100-page brochure promoting the brand for $100,000. Jobs hired frogdesign, to design the NeXT computer workstation, a black, 1ft X 1ft X 1ft magnesium case called “the cube.” Frogdesign was a global innovation firm founded in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) by Harmut Esslinger and partners Andreas Haug and George Sprend, in Mutlangen, Germany in 1969 as Esslinger Design. Soon afterwards, the firm moved to Altensteig, Germany, and then to Palo Alto, California, where Jobs had invited Esslinger to collaborate with Apple design staff on the design of the Apple IIc computer case. Esslinger changed the name of his firm to frogdesign in 1982 and in 1984, the Apple IIc was introduced. In 2000, frogdesign’s name was changed to frog design. Introduced with great fanfare in 1988, the NeXT computer was targeted at educational establishments only, and sold for $6,500. In 1989, it was commercialized with worldwide distribution, and sold at $9,999. Tim Berners-Lee used a NeXT computer in 1991 to create the first web browser and web server. In 1992, NeXT initiated the NeXTSTEP operating system. In 1993, NeXT withdrew from hardware and became a software company. In 1996, Apple acquired NeXT for $429 million and used the NeXTSTEP object-oriented operating system as a foundation to replace the dated Mac OS operating system, which led to the Mac OS X 10.0 in 2001. In 1997, Jobs returned to Apple and became interim CEO, and in 2000, became permanent CEO.

Computer, NeXT, Steve Jobs
Good Grips
Good Grips Stowell, Davin 1989

OXO International—founded in 1989 by Sam Farber—introduced Good Grips kitchen utensils, with oversized, ergonomic handles. This new line was designed by Davin Stowell, IDSA, Dan Formosa, IDSA, Tucker Viemeister, FIDSA, Michael Callahan, IDSA, Steve Russak, IDSA and Steve Allendorf, IDSA of Smart Design, and Sam Farber, Betsy Farber and John Farber of OXO. The line was an instant success. In 2000, IDSA named it a “Design of the Decade.” In 2003, IDSA honored Sam Farber for his lifetime commitment to design in founding a number of successful houseware companies, including Copco in 1960, OXO in 1990 and WOVO in 2003. The Good Grips line continued to expand and was recognized as an outstanding example of universal design, or inclusive design, providing improved gripping for elderly or handicapped individuals, as well as for all users. Each product in the range is readily identifiable as belonging to the Good Grips brand and OXO has been successful in cultivating a sense of brand loyalty. Since the first 20 Good Grips products debuted in 1990, nearly 100 products have been introduced. The growth of the company has been equally rapid. From an initial turnover of $3 million in 1991, its sales have grown by 50% each year since. The company attributes its success to understanding the consumer's needs and practicing user-centered design.

Davin Stowell, Houseware, OXO
Mazda Miata MX5
Mazda Miata MX5 Yamamoto, Kenichi 1989

The Mazda Miata was conceived in 1976 by Kenichi Yamamoto, head of R&D at Mazda in Japan, and by then Motor Trend journalist Bob Hall. Each saw it as a direct descendant of small, inexpensive British 2-door roadsters of the 1960s like the Triumph Spitfire, the MG Midget, the Lotus Elan and the Austin-Healy Sprite. In 1981, when Bob Hall became product planner for Mazda US, he and Yamamoto initiated a design competition between Mazda teams in Tokyo and California for the small sports car. The California team—headed by Tom Matano and including Koichi Hayashi—won the competition and worked on the final design, following the lines of the Lotus Elan, after final Mazda approval in 1986. Mazda Miata was introduced at the February Chicago Auto Show in 1989 with a list price of $13,800. The same design appeared in Japan as the Eunos Roadster, without the Mazda name. The Miata was revised in 2nd and 3rd generations in 1998 and 2006, and has won over 150 awards in its history, with sales totaling 373,774 in the U.S, and 735,813 globally.

Kenichi Yamamoto, vehicle
Apple PowerBook
Apple PowerBook Brunner, Robert 1991

The Apple PowerBook was one of the most revolutionary computers ever made. It changed the way people used computers. It was highly portable and lightweight, but functioned as effectively as a desktop. We call them laptops today, and many users never leave home without one. The original PowerBook series—the 140 and 170—were designed by Robert Brunner, IDSA; Gavin Ivester, IDSA; Suzanne Pierce; Jim Halicho; and Eric Takahashi of Apple Computer; Michael Antonczak of Indesign; and Matt Barthelemy of Lunar Design for Apple Computer, Inc. The design featured a compact dark grey case with a trackball instead of a mouse. The forward keyboard was innovative, leaving room for palm rests for the user. Power was 16 MHz on the 140, which had a passive-matrix 1 bit screen, and 25 MHz on the 170 with a 1 bit active matrix screen. The design was very successful, capturing 40% of the laptop market. In 2000, IDSA named it a “Design of the Decade.” PowerBooks were upgraded and improved frequently over the years until 2006, when they were essentially replaced by the MacBook Pro. The final PowerBook was a 12-inch, 1.5 GHz G4.

Apple, Computer, Robert Brunner
Aeron Chair
Aeron Chair Stumpf, Bill 1994

The Aeron ergonomic chair was designed by Bill Stumpf, FIDSA (1936-2006), of Stumpf, Weber + Associates; and Don Chadwick (b. 1936) of Chadwick & Associates, and was produced by Herman Miller, Inc. It departed from the traditional upholstery-over-cushioning design, and instead was made of a stretched, semi-transparent, flexible mesh called Pellicle. The Aeron chair was available in three sizes, had adjustable armrests, varied bases and could be customized by adjustments to fit a range of body sizes and weights, or with extensions like lumbar support or sacral support. Stumpf and Chadwick also designed the Equa 1 chair together in 1984, also made by Herman Miller, Inc. IDSA named the design a “Design of the Decade” in 2000

Bill Stumpf, furniture, Herman Miller
Personal Harbor Workspace
Personal Harbor Workspace Steelcase Inc 1995

This design won a gold in the 1995 IDEA national design awards sponsored by IDSA and Business Week magazine. According to juror Lisa Smith, president of Smith/Chororos, New York, the Personal Harbor workspace clearly met the criteria of excellence. "Working in the framework of the largest furniture manufacturer in the world, the Personal Harbor design team identified some very complicated tasks and requirements and achieved them exquisitely," Smith said. "The uncertainties and evolution of a product such as this must have been demanding for the manufacturer. And yet, this paradigm-breaking product that works so well for individuals and teams made it to market looking very beautiful. The Personal Harbor forecasts many wonderful things in the workplace." Steelcase's Personal Harbor Workspace is a ground-breaking approach to addressing the needs for individual and collaborative workspace. A collaborative workspace or shared workspace is an inter-connected environment in which all the participants in dispersed locations can access and interact with each other just as inside a single entity. The Personal Harbor workspace is a 48-square-foot individual space with a curved door, high panels and a partially-enclosed ceiling that offers privacy and concentration. "We wanted to design a work setting that would support the full complexity of how knowledge work is done," said project leader David Lathrop. "At times, that means concentrating alone and at other times, people need the space and tools for group collaboration." In addition, the co-development process of placing early prototypes with customers was critical to success. Steelcase asked several customers to "live-in" the Personal Harbor workspaces for a year or more to learn about the way people worked in the setting and identify product adjustments that were necessary. "Real teams doing real work taught us a huge amount about the way people work and the tools they need to be effective," Lathrop said. Steelcase Inc.

Steelcase Inc, Workspace
1998 VW.jpg
Volkswagen Beetle Mays, J 1998

The new Beetle ‘Concept 1’ was unveiled in 1994 by Volkswagen at the North American International Auto Show. It was designed by J Mays, global vice president of design for Ford since 1997, but who in 1990 had joined in the opening of a new design studio in California for Volkswagen-Audi, his employer since 1980. It was the Design Center California of Volkswagen of America in Simi, California, and headed by Charles Ellwood which was linked to the Volkswagen Design Center in Wolfsburg, Germany. Mays’ research for a new American-targeted design revealed a strong customer emotion for the original Beetle, sold in the U.S. from 1949 to 1980, by which time 100 million had been sold, six times that of the Model T. Mays and his team, including Mays Art Center classmate and VW colleague Freeman Thomas, developed the concept which was deliberately reminiscent of the original Beetle’s rounded shape. Public response was extremely positive, and the design reached production in 1998, about 20 years after the last original Beetle was sold in the U.S, and exactly 60 years after the first Beetle was produced in Germany in 1938. The Beetle design had easily become the most popular design concept in history, and appears to remain in our culture forever. The new Beetles were manufactured in Mexico, with water-cooled front-mounted engines (as opposed to the air-cooled rear engines of the originals), and cost $18,000 (about 10 times the cost of 1958 models), but were so high in demand that some sold for $25,000. In 1997, Mays joined Ford and Thomas joined Chrysler in 1999 and by 2002 headed DaimlerChrysler’s Pacifica Studios. In 2005 he joined Ford as director of

J Mays, vehicle, Volkswagen
Apple iPod Ive, Jonathon 2001

In 2000, digital music players were either big and clunky or small and useless with terrible user interfaces. Apple saw an opportunity and introduced its first portable music player. The iPod was the first MP3 player to hold 1,000 songs and 5 gigabytes of data. It weighed only 6.5 ounces and was powered by a rechargeable lithium battery that enabled ten hours of continuous playback. At $400, critics thought it was too expensive, lacked Windows compatibility, and disliked the unconventional scroll wheel. Despite this, it sold beyond expectations and went on to revolutionize the entire music industry. Designed by an Apple project team, including industrial designer Jonathan Ive, it was a year in development after ordered by Steve Jobs. The name iPod was inspired by the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, in which the phrase ‘open the pod bay door, Hal,’ referred to the white EVA Pods of the Discovery One spaceship. The iPod was awarded a gold IDEA award in 2002, and by 2007, sales of various models, including Classic (2004), Mini (2004), Nano (2006), Shuffle (2005) and Touch (2007), exceeded 50 million units.

Apple, Audio, Jonathon Ive