Industrial Design

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Designing with Empathy: By the People and Pratt
Cooper Hewitt collaborated with Pratt Institute students, who created socially-responsible designs based on experiences they had at two New York nonprofit organizations.
Colored Glass At Last!
The No. 2402 bowl, shown here in what the Fostoria Glass Company called “ebony,” is one of eight pieces of glass tableware designed by George Sakier in the museum’s collection. The bowl was made in 1930, just a year after Fostoria hired Sakier to be their main design consultant. The avant-garde look of this bowl...
International Style Tea
This Austrian tea service was designed in a thoroughly modernist style. Forms have been radically simplified to their stark geometric essence. The pieces have no applied ornament, adhering to the principle of “form follows function”, one of the central tenets of modernist industrial design. Following the First World War, new economic and social conditions made...
A Landmark Design with an Aluminum Shine: John Vassos’s RCA Victor Special Phonograph
This sleek icon of American design embodies the simultaneous rise of listening technology and the streamline moderne style in the 1930s. This portable phonograph’s mechanism was engineered by Alfred Weiland and Selden T. Williams while its case and overall aesthetic were conceived by the prolific graphic and industrial designer John Vassos. Born in Romania, Vassos...
The Cobra
There is no questioning the significance to twentieth-century industrial design of the Ericofon telephone, whose one-piece design makes it a predecessor of both cordless telephones and cell phones. Introduced in the United States in 1956, the Ericofon was originally conceived by Ralph Lysell in 1941 and was redesigned by Lysell, Hans Gösta Thames, and Hugo Blomberg for...
Drumming Up A Streetlight
Despite the presence of over 300,000 streetlamps in at least 30 distinct designs, few of the millions who visit Manhattan’s bustling streets every year take note of these integral pieces of city life. The lights have not, however, completely escaped notice: this design drawing by Donald Deskey, one of the most influential Industrial Designers of his era, represents one of many...
A Camera Worth A Thousand Words: Eastman Kodak’s Baby Brownie and the Rise of Popular Photography
When the Eastman Kodak Company first began manufacturing its line of Brownie cameras in 1900, photography was still the domain of trained operators who charged considerable fees for formal portraits and commemorative images of formal occasions. Within the next ten years, however, snapshots became increasingly popular in American culture: holidays, birthdays, and even the everyday...
The New Bauhaus
This rare catalog details the curriculum, philosophy, faculty, and objectives of the School of Design in Chicago in the early 1940s. It is essentially a promotional guide geared to perspective students. The New Bauhaus, as the institution was called, was created as an industrial design school by Hungarian born Bauhaus masters László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946) and...
Don’t Touch That Dial
The Patriot radio was designed by noted industrial designer Norman Bel Geddes and manufactured by the Emerson Radio and Phonograph Corporation in 1939. The radio is made from Opalon, a thermoplastic similar to Bakelite, which came into widespread use in the 1930s. The late 1930s saw the United States begin to emerge from the Great...