In Design, Design Classics on May 19, 2014 at 6:07 pm
Image by Peter Farran
Anglpoise Lamp Shines under the Spotlight
Creator: George Carwardine
Origin: Bath, England
The Type 75 Anglepoise lamp arrives attractively packaged in a printed carton. The polystyrene clamshell inside affords protection in transit but is a little disappointing not least environmentally. The package is surprisingly compact for what is a large lamp but this does mean there is some assembly but which can be achieved in a couple of minutes with only the tightening of one small bolt with the provided allen key.
In use the lamp is beautifully elegant due to the Kenneth Grange update on an already tried and tested design. It’s well engineered, carefully finished and functions superbly. There are some nice details which set it apart from its’ numerous imitations such as the inset Anglepoise badge at the foot of the lamp and the extra sturdy brushed aluminium base.
The design and engineering can’t be faulted for what is a mid range price tag and this lamp looks as good close up as from afar. It feels like it will last a life time and it’s just a pity they’re still not made in the UK. Having said that it’s a beautifully elegant well engineered design classic at a fair and affordable price.
In Design, Design Classics on July 13, 2013 at 2:18 pm
Image by Steven Snodgrass
Twister Continues to Turn Heads and More
Creator: Charles Foley
Origin: St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
I decided to write this in honor of Charles Foley, whose death at the age of 82, on July 1st 2013, was announced today. Twister is a game, which involves having to place a specified hand or foot, on a particular color of dot, on a large mat, printed with large colored dots laid out on the floor. The specified hand or foot and color of dot, is determined by spinning a pointer on a printed board.
The Twister game fulfilled a need for Charles Foley’s company to diversify into the games industry. The creation of Twister happened in 1966 and became instantly popular after the game was featured in an episode of the Tonight show with Johnny Carson and Eva Gabor in the same year, where they played the game together on the show.
Design and production originated in St. Paul, Minnesota where Charles Foley had moved to, to take the job, that led to the creation of ‘Twister’. Charles Foley was an avid inventor who designed from a young age and after that for many years to come. Charles Foley’s will be remembered most for his classic design and it’s enduring popularity over many years and it’s appeal to all ages.
In Design, Design Classics on July 10, 2013 at 1:53 am
Image by spjwebster
Deck Chair Doubles Up as a Dutiful Design Classic
Creator: John Thomas Moore
Origin: Macclesfield, UK
The origin of the humble deck chair, in it’s most common form, of hinged, interlocking, rectangular, wooden frames with brightly colored, striped canvas seat is prolific where ever sun and sea are in abundance. It can be carried flat and with a little practice can be assembled in a few simple steps and the level of inclination, adjusted to individual preference.
The deck chair became increasingly popular, as the working classes flocked to beaches such as Brighton where deck chairs were rented by the day. Although folding wooden chairs in various forms have been known since Egyptian times, it wasn’t until 1886 that the current form was patented and manufactured in quantity for customers such as Brighton Beach and even the Titanic.
First production, of the classic deck chair, took place in Macclesfield, near Manchester in the UK in line with it’s significance as a centre of the industrial revolution. The creator of the deck chair John Thomas Moore deserves credit, through his patent for standardizing the design and bring it to the masses in such a practical and enduring form.
In Design, Design Classics on July 8, 2013 at 5:56 pm
Image by mwichary
Could This Be The Grand Daddy of All Design Classics?
Creator: Wally Byam
Origin: Jackson, Ohio, USA
I’m not sure why I waited this long to write about the Airstream since it could very well be the grand-daddy of all design classics. The airstream is an aluminum clad camping trailer with characteristic streamlined form. The Airstream was born out of a need for an inexpensive means of living autonomously on the open road.
The Airstream is fabricated from aluminium panels riveted over a hooped aluminum framework. Whilst Wally created his first prototype Airstreams in his garden in the late 1920s and sold self-build plans in great quantities shortly afterwards it wasn’t until 1936 that he started large scale production based on increasing consumer demand.
Although Wally Byam started putting together prototype Airstreams in his backyard in Masonite, Los Angeles, it wasn’t until he acquired an ailing aircraft factory in Jackson, Ohio that he was able to supply Airstreams in larger quantities. Wally Byam was an offbeat inventor, a natural showman and a successful businessman but above all, he had the vision for a design which has brought happiness to many and become an icon of American culture.
In Design Classics, Eyewear on July 7, 2013 at 8:09 pm
Image by twentymindsomething
Wayfarers Win Favor Since the Fifties
Creator: Raymond Stegeman
Origin: Rochester, New York, USA
Well, I’ve seen enough Rayban Wayfarers this Summer alone to merit a few lines in their honor. Rayban Wayfarers are slightly angular, dark lensed sunglasses with similarly dark, often tortoise-shell effect moulded frames. They were originally designed as a more fashionable alternative to the more functional driving and pilot models available previously. The angled, teardrop shape almost certainly takes it’s style cues from the increasingly streamlined trends in industrial of the era.
The frames of Wayfarers are injection moulded, an always prestigious material at the time, which gives rise to a more solid weighty look than the wire frames that preceded. After enjoying modest initial success in the late 1950s, Wayfarers become progressively more popular as they were worn by celebrities and appeared in movies, throughout the 80s, 90s and beyond.
Rayban Wayfarers, after being made for many years in the USA are now made by hand in Italy, in line with their prestigious and charismatic Ray-ban Wayfarer image. Whilst entrepreneurs Bausch and Lomb were behind the production of these truly iconic sunglasses optical designer Raymond Stegeman still takes credit for the bold form and use of materials and processes which has proved so successful throughout the years.
In Design Classics, Furniture on July 6, 2013 at 4:36 pm
Image by Allesok
Everlasting Emeco in More Ways Than One
Creator: Wilton Carlyle Dinges
Origin: Hanover, Pennsylvania
I couldn’t help but notice a shining example of the Emeco 1006 Aluminum Navy Chair on the popular Dr. House TV series. This heavy duty, multi purpose, hand fabricated, aluminum chair was born out of the US Navy’s need for a robust yet lightweight chair appropriate for standard issue on aircraft carriers and submarines.
The Emeco 1006 Navy Chair is still made in the USA, by hand, through a 77 step process which includes, among others, folding, forming, welding, heat treating, anodizing and grinding. Design and production started in 1944 and was ramped up massively after a successful demonstration to the US navy where by a sample chair was thrown from an eighth floor window without damage except for some superficial scratches.
Emeco is still based in Hanover, Pennsylvania in the North Eastern United States and serves as a testament to the work of Wilton Carlyle Dinges, master tool and die maker, who created the 1006 with such strength and beauty that it can be guaranteed for 150 years and is set to become an enduring American design classic. As well as a technical background Dinges apparently had an appreciation for the work of sculptor Rodin which may account for the successful marriage of strength and beauty in the Emeco 1006 Aluminium Navy Chair.
In Design Classics on December 21, 2011 at 7:47 pm
Image by Twon
Unbeatable Reuseable Bottle from Biel
Creator: Ferdinand Sigg
Origin: Biel Switzerland
The Sigg classic traveller drinks bottle is a lightweight, aluminium beverage container with a tightly fitting looped screw top and translucent enamel coating in red. The Sigg bottle was born out of the need for a lightweight, unbreakable durable bottle for taking on climbing and hiking trips. Aluminium was the perfect choice and suitable for anodizing.
The first bottles were made in Biel Switzerland in 1908 and then later production moved to Frauenfeld in 1917. Production of the aluminium bottles continues to this day in Frauenfeld Switzerland employing skilled local workers. Sigg bottles are sent to customers the world over who appreciate the practical design and the high quality Swiss workmanship and attention to detail.
Ferdinand Sigg developed and refined the technique where by a cylindrical puck of aluminium could be progressively formed into the shape of a bottle and in more recent years refinements have been made to the linings and coatings to further improve performance and efficiency in production. The Swiss reputation for quality and the authenticity of a product which originates from a country of mountains makes for an iconic product particularly in it’s distinctive red translucent finish.
In Design Classics, Toys on December 20, 2011 at 10:00 pm
Image by Jin.Thai
Popular Puzzle Still Packs a Punch
Creator: Erno Rubik
Origin: Budapest Hungary
Rubik’s cube is a mechanical puzzle where each group of 9 smaller cubes can be rotated relative to the others quickly mixing up the cubes from their original solved position. The puzzle can then be solved by rotating groups of cubes in a number of possible sequences to arrive once again at the solution. The puzzle was created in response to the challenge of finding a way of allowing 36 cubes to be moved in three dimensions around a central pivot point which had previously only been acheived in a 2 by 2 cube rather than a three by three cube.
The first prototype was created in 1976 while the inventor was working at The Budapest College of applied Arts as a Professor and became widely available in 1980. In 1992 the first Rubik’s Cube world championships were staged demonstrating it’s longevity and world wide appeal.
Erno Rubik was able to hold all of the pieces together and yet allow them to rotate relative to one another with only a three dimensional, spring loaded cross at the center which was originally adjustable to reduce or increase the force needed to make rotations. Erno Rubik was able to create this incredible puzzle no doubt through his experience as a sculptor and architect and the subsequent success was down to the inate inginuity and challenge of the puzzle rather than the usual marketing.
In Design Classics on December 19, 2011 at 9:20 pm
Image from Pittaya
Take Notes and Make Sketches Like the Greats
Creator: Moleskine Srl
Origin: Milan Italy
The Moleskine is a pocket sized, leatherette bound notebook with an elasticated black closure and a black ribbon bookmark fixed into the spine. The Moleskine was born out of the need for a notebook that would stay compact and closed in the pocket and not fall open when placed on a table the built in bookmark saves time when making a new note or sketch.
The Moleskine was first popularized in Paris in the 19th and 20th centuries by the many artists and writers of the times. In the late eighties production was ceased temporarily until a small Milanese company produced a batch of 5000 which were soon depleted in the Italian market alone.
The original Milanese company Modo & Modo which made the initial batch of Moleskines decided to focus on increasing production to meet demand within Europe and beyond and since this was now becoming their main ativity decided to register and start trading under the Moleskine name which is now a wdeg oy recognized brand. The books are made with environmentally friendly acid free paper and stitched at the spine to allow the pages to lay flat while sketching or writing. Famous users of the original Parisian Moleskines included Hemmingway, Picasso and Oscar Wilde.
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In Design Classics on December 18, 2011 at 5:53 pm
Image by Kevin Dooley
Go Back in Time in a Little Red Wagon
Creator: Anthony Pasin
Origin: Chicago, USA
The Radio Flyer Classic Red Wagon is a children’s toy in which one or two small children can be pulled along by an adult. The trailer is mainly of metal construction with solid rubber wheels . The Radio Flyer was designed to take advantage of the new metal mass production methods being used in the early car industry and to replace a similar toy then made from wood.
The inventor of the Radio Flyer Little Red Wagon was born in Venice Italy in 1898, He emmigrated to the United States at the age of 16 and began producing his Radio Flyer wagons in his Chicago factory in 1917.
The body of the Radio Flyer wagon is still pressed from sheet steel much like the early automobiles of the era. The wagon is steered and pulled by the sturdy handle which is carefully designed to avoid either tipping or pinching. Anthony Pasin the inventor of the Radio Flyer Little Red Wagon worked as a water boy for a sewer digging crew before saving enough money to rent a small workshop and tools for the production of his first wagons.
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