Author: Cynthia Trope

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Cylindrical, fluted metal body, horizontal ridges at top; tapering, flat-topped, cylindrical metal cup inverted over bottle mouth to serve as cap; cap unscrews and lifts off to reveal small cylindrical rubber stopper, with circular metal top and hinged toggle latch, set snugly into circular mouth of interior glass vacuum bottle.
One for the Road
Near the end of the nineteenth century, Scottish scientist Sir James Dewar developed glass vacuum bottle technology for his work with liquid gases. The bottle had a function applicable to daily life as well–keeping beverages fresh, meeting a basic need as more people joined the work force, taking meals to their jobs.  More people were...
Aluminum and steel streamlined meat slicer with rounded knobs.
A Slice of Design from the Local Deli
Designed more than 70 years ago, the Model 410 meat slicer, also known as the Streamliner, is not just a utilitarian object for the food service industry. It is also a wonderful example of streamlining, a style of Modernism that combines principles of aerodynamic engineering with geometry, often characterized by smooth rhythmic surfaces and forms...
Body of roughly hour glass form; pink-glazed ground covered with tiny gilded irregular circles; large, white loop handle on one side; tall, tapering, everted white spout opposite; circular, slighlty domed pink-glazed and gilded lid with white triangular loop handle in center.
A Collaboration for a New Century
Industrial designer Raymond Loewy’s career spanned six decades, from about 1920 to 1986, during which he was active in Europe and the United States, with offices in Paris, London, New York, and Chicago. By 1951, he directed a design staff of over one hundred and forty. Loewy and his firm are noted for their prodigious...
Egg Cup, Gourmet, designed 1958
Elegant Egg Cups
Kristian Vedel is primarily known as a furniture designer, trained by the Danish architect-designer Kaare Klint and strongly influenced by Klint's standards of economy, function and simplicity. Vedel established his own studio in 1955. These stacking egg cups are one of his early innovative designs, part of the Gourmet line of plastic tableware from about 1958....
R-72, “Toot-A-Loop” Portable Radio, ca. 1970. Manufactured by National Panasonic Radio brand, Matushita Electrical Industrial Co., Ltd., Japan. Gift of Jacqueline Loewe Fowler, 2007-37-5
Staying in the Loop
The R-72, also called the “Toot-A-Loop,” is a wonderful example of Pop Art-inspired design. Departing from the square box format, this battery-operated portable radio is shaped like a donut with an off-center hole. It could be worn on the wrist like a bracelet or carried like a purse.  Simply by twisting the swivel joint at...
Four-part pewter set consisting of cylindrical teapot, creamer, and sugar bowl (.1/3), on shaped tray (.4). All with trapezoidal ebonized wood handles, and engraved with block letter "G". Teapot, creamer, and sugar bowl lids with circular ebonized wood finials.
A Moderne Woman
Virginia Hamill, one of the first American women in the field of industrial design, called herself a “decorative art consultant.” Under this broad title, she gained prominence as an exhibition organizer and designer, retail merchandiser, product stylist, and interior designer and educator. She was influential in her use of department store exhibitions to introduce European...
Portable television with square screen set in long rectangular gray metal housing with rounded edges; moveable visor at front; black plastic handle at top, retractable antenna at top left rear, station dial and volume control dial at top right rear; three square white control buttons on bottom front under the name SONY; metal base.
The smaller the better
Wow! I remember thinking that as a youngster, when I first saw the slightly flickering black and white picture on the Sony portable TV at a friend’s house—on the patio. That was the last place I could imagine anything like a television, something I had previously experienced only as a piece of furniture in people’s living...
silver telephone dialer with initials FCR made by Tiffany & Co
Before phones became gifts
“I’ll send it to Bob Cratchit’s!” whispered Scrooge, rubbing his hands, and splitting with a laugh. “He shan’t know who sends it….”[1] Not long after re-reading “A Christmas Carol,” I was reminded of mid twentieth-century Christmases and gift giving when I came across our research file for this Tiffany & Co. silver telephone dialer. The main...
white chair with silver legs
A chair for all seasons
The Landi chair, created by the self-taught designer Hans Coray, was one of the first highly successful designs for seating furniture using sheet aluminum, a relatively new material in the 1930s. Introduced in Zurich, at the 1939 Swiss National Exhibition (Schweizerische Landesaustellung, nicknamed “Landi”), the chair was the official seating for the exhibition grounds. Aluminum...
Hanging lamp composed of shards of broken white porcelain dishes, cups, saucers, serving pieces, and stainless steel cutlery, mounted on a metal frame work radiating from a central light source; the overall effect evoking an explosion of tableware.
A Frozen Explosion
Fascinated by what he calls the “magical and mystical” qualities of light, lighting designer Ingo Maurer plays with conventional notions of brightness, shadow, and color. Trained as a typographer and graphic artist, Maurer worked in the United States before returning to Europe in 1963, where he was active as a graphic designer. The trigger for...