Object of the Day

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New truck shine
Bill Brownlie, a long-time designer and car stylist for Chrysler, drafted this interior concept for a truck cab in 1952. His sectional depiction of the interior is composed to provide viewers with a glimpse through the passenger’s side door.   The highly finished effect of the drawing, the result of using an airbrush and ink, gives...
To Cowslip Farm
I have long admired the wide children’s borders, also called friezes, designed and produced in the early twentieth century, prior to the Great Depression in 1929. Cooper Hewitt has a fair collection of these with the most popular being Winnie the Pooh, produced ca. 1926, coinciding with the release of the book by A.A. Milne...
Model Citizens
This cotton quilt cover is based on The Legend of the Red Lantern, one of the Eight Model plays promoted during the Cultural Revolution in China, as they promoted the ideals of communism. (By the end of the Cultural Revolution, there were 18 approved plays and ballets.) The plot of The Legend of the Red...
A Warm Glow on a Cold Night
As I write this blog entry it is cold, and growing colder outside, and this lamp, which looks like it is covered with snow, caught my eye. On first sight it appears to be a snow globe, with the snow on the outside. This globular lamp, however, was designed in 1999 by noted Italian architect...
Reinventing Functionality
A version of the Heatwave Radiator is included in the exhibition Joris Laarman Lab: Design in the Digital Age, on view at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum through January 15, 2018. Radiators have long been used to exchange heat, transfering thermal energy from one medium to another for the purpose of space heating. Their primary...
Please Do Feed the Squirrels
If you’ve been reading Object of the Day blogs you have probably read past articles on bandboxes. Popular in the United States from around 1800-1850, these were made of pasteboard and covered with either a wallpaper or a specially printed bandbox paper. The original intent was to store and transport men’s collar bands, but soon...
Providing More Than Warmth
Saddle blankets — placed under the saddle to protect the horse from chafing and pressure from the saddle — continued to be used by the Navajo long after handwoven garments became impractical. By the 1950s, when this blanket was woven, the dramatic shoulder blankets for which the Navajo are famous were made far more frequently...
Free Universal Construction Kit: Interoperability in Children’s Toys
Can a children’s toy function as a subversive agent of anti-capitalism? Possibly. The Free Universal Construction Kit is a set of design plans for nearly 80 two-way adapters capable of joining together individual parts from ten popular brands of construction toys, allowing for interoperability between otherwise incompatible construction toy parts.[1] Available for download at no...
On cream ground, design for a six-wheeled double-decker Greyhound bus in three-quarter profile view. At the front of the automotive, a large windshield, the word "CHICAGO" in silver text on a black plaque immediately below. Centered below the destination is the Greyhound logo, an elongated running white hound on copper ground. Below the logo, a large streamlined chrome grille, which wraps around the sides of the bus, accentuating the windows of the seats on the lower level. A red license plate at front reads "1946-X BUS" with small round white and yellow headlights on either side. The destination city of Chicago appears again on the side of the vehicle, with the Greyhound logo behind, in this instance with the dog on a diagonal ground of red, white, and blue stripes. Views through the windows show at least ten rows of four plushly upholstered seats on the upper level, and approximately five rows on the lower level, allowing for mechanical and luggage storage in the lower rear of the vehicle. The frontmost wheel has a shiny chrome hubcap covering the wheel disc, while the rear wheels have an exposed rim and disc. The bus casts a pale shadow on the ground, which is indicated by two parallel diagonal lines.
Away We Go!
On July 9, 1947, Look magazine ran a feature article on the fastest growing form of transportation in America: intercity buses. “Bus travel, according to the sworn word of many highway fans,” the author wrote, “is the best way to make a sightseeing holiday trip.”[1] The post-war boom in bus travel was indebted, in part,...