Author: Cynthia Trope

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1982-23-54
A Match For You At Any Time
Matchsafes came into being when wooden friction matches were invented in the middle of the nineteenth century, and were widely used until the 1930s, when safety matches, matchbooks, and gas-powered lighters became more popular. Early friction matches were somewhat unreliable, highly combustible and could light spontaneously in a pocket. In order to protect them from moisture and...
This is a Telephone. It was designed by Johan Christian Bjerknes and Jean Heiberg and made for Norsk Elektrisk Bureau. It is dated 1931. Its medium is bakelite.
Phone Finds Its Iconic Form
Informally known as the Bakelite telephone, the sculptural Ericsson DBH 1001 was a groundbreaking design that set the standard for the shape of the modern plastic telephone. The telephone was a collaborative project between the Electrisk Bureau of Oslo, Norway and the Swedish firm LM Ericsson and Televerket. In 1930 Ericsson hired engineer Christian Bjerknes...
1971-66-2
Floating Colors
Although this vase exemplifies a mid-twentieth century organic style of modernism, it comes from a glass factory with a long tradition of using historical production techniques, located on the island of Murano in Venice, Italy, an important glass-blowing center since the middle ages. In the mid-nineteenth century, Italian lawyer Antonio Salviati developed an interest in glass after...
1993-69-49
The Tortoise In The Hair
Some combs are used to groom hair, others to embellish and hold it in place. This decorative lady’s hair comb dates from the nineteenth century. By the 1830s, the austere, classically inspired Empire or Regency fashions of the previous twenty years had been supplanted by exuberant gowns sporting large sleeves and broad skirts. Hairstyles changed...
1991-108-6-a:c
Gravity’s Shadow
Electric lighting has existed since the late nineteenth century. Some of the earliest forms exhibited fine Art Nouveau-era workmanship, while decadent Art Deco forms arose in the mid-1920s. A functional, industrially-inspired modernist aesthetic grew in popularity from the 1930s onward. But to my mind, the 1960s was a time of some of the most inventive and clever lighting design, especially for home interiors. Looking to developments...
Right-facing American flag consisting of 48 blue paste “stars,” in upper left; alternating red and white “stripes” (22 red glass paste “rubies” and 22 transparent glass paste “diamonds”) unfurled on a gilded metal flag pole with two free-swinging tassels suspended from fine link chains at the top; the tassels fringes hinged at the neck, allowing for movement.
Grand Old Flag
Patriotic jewelry is a term for works that are inspired by national symbols like flags or their colors. In the United Sates, the American flag, “Old Glory,” along with the American eagle and Uncle Sam, have been among the most popular motifs. While patriotic jewelry in both precious and non-precious materials has been around at least...
2012-18-1
Fun Chair
Resembling a child’s toy more than a piece of furniture, the whimsical form of the Spun Chair, designed by Thomas Heatherwick and his team, Heatherwick Studio, came about in answer to the question, ‘Can a rotationally symmetrical form make a comfortable chair?’ Heatherwick and his colleagues were initially inspired by the traditional manufacturing process of...
Circular form; smooth blue case surrounding metal band with Arabic numerals encircling white face with black hands; metal stem at top. At center: "WESTCLOX".
“An Essential Accessory”
This handbag watch, introduced in 1933 by the Westclox division of the General Time Instruments Corporation, offered the busy modern woman a portable, fashionable and discreet way to manage her time. [1] An alternative to wearing a wristwatch and about the size of a man’s pocket watch, this timepiece was large enough to be easily found...
Raised disc-shaped metallic-toned plastic body, the center pierced by six columns of small squares (speaker) above square black number and function keys.
Squaring The Circle
When Coherent Communications System Corporation decided to create this conference phone their goal was to accommodate the needs of conference calls by incorporating all the necessary telephone elements and electronics into a single, sophisticated speaker/microphone housing. For ease of use and efficiency, the engineers wanted to position the speaker in such a way that the...