Henry Dreyfuss

Crossed Wires: The Gendered Technology of the Princess Phone


The ubiquity of smart phones today makes it almost impossible to imagine a time when there were not many choices when purchasing a telephone, and they were not customizable, let alone portable. This began to change in 1959 when Bell Telephone Systems released the Princess telephone as the first phone specifically created for teenage girls and women. The Princess phone began a trend of using the telephone itself as a form of expression by taking a previously neutral communication device and transforming it into a gendered object.
Telephone, Henry Dreyfuss, Bell Telephone, women, teenagers, Industrial Design

The Swinger


In 1960, Edwin Land, founder of the Polaroid Corporation, approached American designer Henry Dreyfuss regarding their cameras. The Automatic 100 Land Camera, which allowed the photographer to remove the developing print as soon as the picture had been snapped, was the first new product to result from their collaboration. It exemplified the successful integration of the industrial designer with a team of engineers, physicists, and specialists.
Polaroid, Henry Dreyfuss, camera

Body Odor and Sticky Feet


What do sticky feet, body odor, and cracked, sweaty and saggy skins have to do with our museum collection? A survey of plastic materials in Cooper-Hewitt collections, supported by the Smithsonian’s Collections Care and Preservation Fund, was recently conducted by a team of conservators. We saw and smelled many of these plastic deterioration issues—up close and personal.
conservation, Henry Dreyfuss, Telephone, plastic, survey, deterioration, Industrial Design, cab, PVC

The 302


When American designer Henry Dreyfuss began work as a consultant to Bell Telephone Laboratories (BTL) in 1930, he sought simplicity and unity of form in the installations of their equipment. He persuaded BTL to let him work with their engineers, and this collaboration resulted in the 302 telephone of 1937. The unified and balanced form of the 302 replaced the awkward and ungainly shapes of earlier models. Its successor, the 500 of 1949, was a response to the increased post-war demand for telephone service.
Henry Dreyfuss, Telephone, Bell Telephone Laboratories

The round thermostat


Dreyfuss modernized the appearance of Honeywell’s thermostats in the 1930s; among the first was the Chronotherm, which incorporated a “digital” clock into its display. Dreyfuss was frustrated, however, that rectangular thermostats never seemed to hang squarely on the wall. Work began on a round thermostat in 1940. Placing all the elements in a circular form was more difficult than it first seemed; attempts to make a curved thermometer were especially problematic. World War II halted the development program but helped provide technical solutions.
Henry Dreyfuss, Honeywell, thermostat

A redesigned tractor


In 1937, Deere & Company’s engineers decided that, while they knew how to create dependable and efficient tractors, what they needed was a more cohesive appearance that projected these qualities. They entered into consultations with industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss, which led to a more unified design of the tractor and all its different models.
Henry Dreyfuss, John Deere, tractor, farmer, farming, Industrial Design

Before There Were Ring Tones There Were Rings


If you grew up in America in the mid-1950s-70s, you no doubt encountered the Model 500 telephone or one of its variants in almost every home or workplace you entered. The model 500 became the standard desk-style phone in the U.S., with over 93 million units produced for homes and offices between 1949 and the divestiture of AT&T (the Bell System) in 1984.
Telephone, Model 500, Henry Dreyfuss, Bell Telephone Laboratories, Western Electric Manufacturing Company, Industrial Design

High Fashion Train Interior


Of all of the pioneering industrial designers, including Norman Bel Geddes, Walter Dorwin Teague, and Henry Dreyfuss, Raymond Loewy is by far most well-known to the American public. His designs for the original Coca-Cola contour bottle and logo, the Exxon logo, and the Avanti car are icons of 1950s and 1960s design.
Raymond Loewy, Henry Dreyfuss, Industrial Design, Pennsylvania Railroad, trains, illustration, concept drawings, drawing

Packaging the New: Design and the American Consumer, 1925-1975


More than 200 objects including drawings, products, packaging, and advertising trace the history of "the new.” Works by industrial designers Donald Deskey, Walter Dorwin Teague, Raymond Loewy, and Henry Dreyfuss are on display, as well as a recreation of a 1928 Saks Fifth Avenue window, a 1950s supermarket, and a 1960s Formica kitchen. A “Hall of Obsolescence” features a series of toasters that consumers purchased and re-purchased annually, despite only minor, superficial style "improvements."  
20th century, Industrial Design, housewares, Donald Deskey, Walter Dorwin Teague, Raymond Loewy, Henry Dreyfuss, consumerism, product design, exhibitions, packaging, advertising, ch:exhibition=35349859

Henry Dreyfuss Directing Design: The Industrial Designer and His Work, 1929 - 1972


This retrospective of industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss features drawings, models, prototypes, and finished products. His designs include well-known classics such as the standard desk-style rotary telephone, the "Big Ben" alarm clock, the Polaroid Automatic 100 camera, and the Honeywell round thermostat. Dreyfuss was also responsible for the New York Central Railroad's streamlined "Mercury" train, ergonomic John Deere tractors, washing machines for Sears, and theatrical sets for plays such as The Last Mile. 
Henry Dreyfuss, Industrial Design, 20th century, exhibitions, ch:exhibition=35350863