Object of the Day

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SUBJECTIVE DATA
“Data is always gathered at a certain time with purpose; and to be useful it must be mined, parsed, and presented.  Each step of this process involves decisions about what to omit and what to prioritize.  Yet the end result, the visualization, carries an authority, timelessness, and objectivity that belies its origins.”[1] – Peter Hall...
1978-146-30
Utility and Marketing: A Matchsafe Made in Heaven
Cooper Hewitt holds a large number of matchsafes: small, metal boxes that emerged around 1830 to house recently invented friction matches. Vital for lighting lanterns, kitchen stoves and smoking accessories, people from all walks of life carried matchsafes, or vesta cases.  The air-tight containers kept matches dry and reduced the risk of spontaneous ignition, a...
Sampler, 1812, Maytown, Pennsylvania, USA, silk and metallic thread embroidered in satin, cross, running, stem, and rococo stitches with figure eight looping on linen plain weave foundation, Bequest of Emily Coe Stowell from the Coe Collection, 1970-28-17.
Fashionable Sampler
This sampler was worked in 1812 by Mary Hamilton at the Maytown, Pennsylvania, school of Catherine Welshans (who became Catherine Welshans Buchanan after her 1813 marriage). The central scene depicts a woman, fashionably attired in a feathered headdress, standing beneath a tree. The border is made up of compartmentalized motifs, including baskets of flowers, flowering...
Plymouth Hotel
Posters for Preservation
In 1977 Miami’s South Beach lay in ruins: unkempt and forgotten by time. In less than 50 years, the district had gone from a lively and glamorous area to one that was run down and boarded up. With preservation in mind, a Miami Beach resident and mechanic by the name of Woody Vondracek set out...
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Contemporary Chic
The Cooper Hewitt has over 50 wallpapers by the little-known German company Hosel Tapeten. Centered in the town of Hosel, situated partway between Düsseldorf and Essen in the northwest of the country, the company’s output was very typical of post-World War II German papers. The period saw an increase in the amount of cheap, mass-produced...
1991-26-1
In Good Time
Recognizable for its resemblance to an atomic model with wooden spheres attached to the metal rods jutting out from its face, the Ball Clock (model 4755) is, unsurprisingly, sometimes called the “Atomic” clock. Designed by George Nelson Associates for the Howard Miller Clock Company in 1949, the Ball Clock was made by the company through...
Textile, 1934, France, supplementary weft cotton pile (velour), Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund, 2006-6-1
Plush Travel
This modernist velour furnishing fabric designed in 1934 was produced in an area of northern France where weaving centers like Lille, Roubaix, and Tourcoing manufactured fabrics for use on airplanes, trains, and boats. During this era, escalating industrialization facilitated mass transportation, which led to an increased emphasis on travel. This cultural shift not only introduced...
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A Forgotten Architect with Ethereal Solutions
For her first assignment as an architecture student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Mary Ann Crawford was given a sheet of paper, twelve hours, and a problem: design an entrance to an architectural school. Crawford’s submission was well-received by her professor, but he gave her a cautionary warning. “You want to be careful...
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American Mod
In 1957, the Scottish fashion designer John Stephen opened a boutique for young men in London on Beak Street. One year later he moved the store, called His Clothes, to 5 Carnaby Street, an inauspicious street in Soho largely filled with rundown warehouses. The retailer soon became noted for his tight-fitting, flamboyantly-colored clothing and drew...