Object of the Day

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2013-1-1
The Miracle of Glass
More than 44 million people attended the New York World’s Fair in 1939 and two of the many exhibits that visitors would have enjoyed were the Glass Center, a pavilion that marketed glass as the material of the future, and the Town of Tomorrow, a faux suburb of model homes that included the House of...
2012-33-1
Eruption of Color
This striped wallpaper is one pattern from a group of seven which form Irma Boom’s Colour-Based on Nature collection. Working from photographs of UNESCO/World Heritage Sites around the globe, Boom has translated each of the landscapes into a digital color diagram. The diagrams were then translated into striped wallpaper patterns and specially mixed colors were...
1924-31-1
A Fan by Any Other Name
A carnet de bal, or dance card, was a fashionable accessory often carried by women attending a formal dance to record the names of the gentlemen with whom she would dance over the course of the evening. Occasionally, the carnet de bal would be executed as a fan, allowing a lady to write down her...
2015-5-12
Iron, Meet Glass
The postwar design era focused largely on improving all aspects of life at home for those who had maintained it during the war and those who were just returning. The remodeled electric iron was one among many postwar innovations, but this Silver Streak iron in particular epitomizes the design period. The Silver Streak’s aerodynamic form...
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The Old and New Moral Majority
The CDC acknowledged the first cases of what is now accepted to be HIV on June 5, 1981 in a “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report” (MMWR), which documented instances of a rare lung infection known as Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) in five young, previously healthy gay men. The virus swiftly spread, and by 1989 the...
1958-96-2-a_n
Boys Will Be Boys
This children’s wallpaper is based on the story of Max and Moritz, A Story of Seven Boyish Pranks, written by Wilhelm Busch in 1865. The illustrations are loosely based on the originals and show the characters of Max and Moritz committing one of their pranks; actually it is prank number three played on the friendly...
1903-11-28
An Unfinished Embroidered Picture
In the 17th century, amateur embroiderers or their teachers could commission custom designs from pattern drawers. In Thomas Heywood’s 1607 play, “The Faire Maide of the Exchange,” a character known as the ‘Drawer’ takes detailed instruction for a handkerchief: In one corner of the same, place wanton love, Drawing his bow shooting an amorous dart,...
Healey Gold Tableware; ca. 1893; Decorated by Emily Healey (American, born 1852) and Mary Healey (American, born 1854); Manufactured by Chryso-Ceramics (Washington, DC, USA); Gilt porcelain; Gift of Elizabeth Taylor, 1991-11-1/7
Healey Sisters Strike Gold
In the early 1890s science teacher Emily Healey was working in her laboratory in Washington D.C. when she accidently dropped a certain uranium salt into some heavy oil. When she fired this compound onto a scrap of china, the effect was a brilliantly colored surface. Many experiments with the uranium followed and Emily determined that...
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All That Flitters…
This wide architectural frieze shows contains scallop shells rendered in high relief, set within arches outlined with egg and dart moldings, between which are wreath-enclosed torches. Above this is a dentil molding. This is printed in numerous shades of gray, with larger fills of complementary colors of red and green. There are also elements printed...