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 November 26, 2011 at 11:24 am
Image by Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum
Astronauts Clock Up Over 5,000,000,000 Miles in Their Acorn Slipper Socks
Creator: David Quinn
Origin: Lewiston, Maine
As the name suggests Acorn slipper socks are half slipper and half sock with a non-slip suede sole and leather reinforcing band which surrounds the foot. The sole is lined with a layer of memory foam which moulds to the shape of the foot and keeps it warm. The sock part of the slipper sock is knitted from a non-itchy hypo-allergenic cotton yarn. Acorn slipper socks were born out of the need for a warm, lightweight and comfortable slipper that didn’t fall off the foot easily.
Acorn slipper socks were first created in 1976 but it wasn’t until 1982 that they were first taken aboard a space shuttle mission by astronaut Ken Mattingly shortly after which they became NASA standard issue for shuttle missions. Acorn slipper socks originated in Lewiston, Maine, USA a former mill town during the industrial revolution.
David Quinn, a childhood skier had remembered traditional slipper socks at the mountain chalets where he’d stayed. Not finding a readily available alternative he worked with a cobbler and local merchants to create a batch for family and friends and went on to create greater quantities for NASA, armchair astronauts home and comfort lovers around the world.
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In Classics on January 2, 2011 at 6:12 pm
Gaggia Classic Espresso Coffee Machine
Creator: Achille Gaggia
Origin: Milan Italy
The Gaggia Classic Espresso Coffee Machine is a brushed stainless steel, Italian made home coffee machine with an integrated steam wand to also allow for frothing milk to make cappuccino coffee. It started out as an espresso machine for small hotels and Cafes but has now also found favor with home coffee aficionados as coffee culture has become more widespread than ever.
The Gaggia Classic Espresso coffee machine was created in response to the need for a compact espresso coffee machine built with the same ruggedness and performance as the full size machines found in busy bars and restaurants. The first units were produced in 1948 with continuous improvements made until 1977 when Gaggia decided to focus it’s efforts on serious home coffee drinkers aswell as businesses.
The Gaggia Classic Espresso coffee machine is still manufactured indigenously in it’s native city of Milan Italy by local employees at the modern Robecco sul Naviglio factory not far from the original Gaggia workshop. Achille Gaggia continued making improvements in design and production leading to the simple elegant model of today. The Gaggia makes great tasting authentic Italian espresso in simple elegant style.
In Classics on December 31, 2010 at 4:35 pm
Zeroll Ice Cream Scoop
Creator: Sherman Kelly
Origin: Toledo Ohio
The Zeroll Ice Cream Scoop is a cast aluminium Ice Cream scoop with the Zeroll logo moulded into the side of the handle and a color coded button at the end to indicate the size of the scoops produced. The 3 ounce model is the definitive size perfect for serving ice cream at home to be served in a bowl.
The quest to create the perfect ice cream scoop started when the inventor Sherman Kelly spotted someone with blisters on their hands from scooping ice cream all day in a store. He created several prototypes before hitting on a design with a hollow core which he filled with a heat conducting liquid warming the scooping surface from heat transferred from the users hand. The first Zeroll ice cream scoops were sold in 1935 to owners of ice cream stores.
The original Zeroll Ice Cream Scoop factory was set up in Toledo Ohio close to the inventor Shane Kelly’s home. Shane continued perfecting the production of the ice cream scoop until he passed away in 1950 handing the business over to his son Ralph Kelly who moved the business and changed the name. In 1981 Entrepreneurs Tom and Art Funka brought back the Zeroll name and brought production back to Toledo, Ohio.
In Classics on December 30, 2010 at 7:10 pm
Mason Cash Mixing Bowl
Creator: Tom Cash
Origin: Derbyshire UK
The Mason Cash mixing bowl is a sturdy earthenware household mixing bowl with a cane colored, diamond textured exterior and white interior. The cane coloring of the exterior originates from the local clay at Church Gresley in Derbyshire and the diamond texture helps secure handling during mixing. Earthenware is fired once and then a second time with the glaze.
Mason Cash mixing bowls came about during the early 1900s as the company looked to expand it’s range of products. The white interior ensured cleanliness and the two tone coloring and surface texture gave a sense of lightness to something which in use needed to be fairly heavy.
The Mason Cash mixing bowl enjoyed it’s heyday after the second world war as food once again became more plentiful, working class families more prosperous but before low cost imports became more common. The Mason Cash company was established in 1901 and the first Mason Cash mixing bowls can still be found dating as far back as the 1920s. The master potter at the helm when the Mason Cash Gresley mixing bowl was first produced probably to Thomas Cash, the successor to ‘Bossy’ Mason whose name forms the first part of the famous Mason Cash brand name.
In Classics on December 29, 2010 at 6:48 pm
Creator: Max Gort-Barten
Origin: Camberwell London UK
The Dualit toaster is a commercial stainless steel toaster that has recently found favour in domestic kitchens due to its rugged good looks and built to last to last construction. The level of toasting is selected by means of a rotary mechanical timer and the toast ejected manually which allows the toast to be kept warm until ready for serving.
The Dualit toaster was created to cater for the needs of commercial kitchens in Hotels where a more rugged toaster was needed that could withstand the wear and tear of being used continuously day after day with minimal maintenance. The first of these toasters were made in 1952 and bore a recognisable resemblance to the Dualit toasters of today.
The original factory was situated in Camberwell London and then moved to The Old Kent Road after the original site was the subject of a compulsory purchase order. Recently production was moved to a more modern premises capable of coping with increased demand from domestic customers. The designer of the Dualit toaster was a Max Gort-Barten of German origin who later settled in London and constantly strived to refine production and design of this classic toaster.
In Classics on December 28, 2010 at 2:08 pm
Creator: T.G.Green & Co
Origin: Church Gresley, Derbyshire UK
T.G.Green & Co Cornishware crockery is a distinctive white and pale blue broad striped range of crockery. The white clay crockery is coated with a pale blue coloured mixture of clay and water. The piece of crockery is then turned while wide bands of colored slip are carefully removed to reveal the distinctive cornishware design beneath.
The design was chosen to distinguish the range from the other crockery being produced in the Derbyshire region of England. The Cornishware name was chosen as a reference to the pale blue ocean and white surf of the Cornish coastline. The range was first introduced in 1926 and updated in the 1960s.
The original Cornishware was produced at a small village called Church Gresley in the heart of Derbyshire pottery country near the town of Swadlincote and only the name is inspired by the Cornish seaside. The original business was a small affair bought by entrepreneur T.G. Green who grew the business, expanded production, built a larger more modern factory and was responsible for many new products and designs including the world renowned and distictive Cornishware.
In Classics on December 27, 2010 at 1:47 pm
Felco F-2 Pruners
Creator: Félix Flisch
Origin: Les Geneveys-sur-Coffrane
Felco F-2 pruners are distinctive Swiss garden pruners with red rubber sleeves on the handles. They have die cast matte finish on all of the hardware apart from adjestment wheel and the sharpened edges. The closeness of the blades can be adjusted by means of a thumb wheel and the pruners can be locked safely closed with the incorporated ratchet mechanism.
The Felco 2 pruners or secateus were designed to fulfill the need for a more efficient pruner to support the growth in agricultural activity after the second world war. Keen gardeners and horticulturalists were soon to appreciate the quality of the Swiss made Felco pruners making them a firm favorite for decades to come. The Felco 2 pruner was the successor to the first model incorporating some minor improvements only small refinements have been made since to the original highly functional pruner.
Felco 2 pruners are made at Les Geneveys-sur-Coffrane a small town in the watch making region of the Jura in Switzerland. After producing his first high quality pruners Félix Flisch purchased a factory previously used for watch making to satisfy increasing demand from within Switzerland, Europe and beyond.
In Classics on December 22, 2010 at 3:07 pm
Casio F-91W Wrist Watch
Creator: Tadao Kashio
Origin: Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
The Casio F-91W wrist watch is an inexpensive black digital wrist watch with an almost octagonal face and flexible resin strap. The date, alarm and stopwatch functions are accessed via a pair of metal buttons on the side of the case. An accuracy of plus or minus thirty seconds per month is achieved by means of a quartz crystal mechanism and a seven year battery.
The Casio F-91W wrist watch was created in response to the need for a no nonsense everyday wrist watch with general appeal which took advantage of the accurate and reliable quartz mechanisms that were being produced to a very high standard and in great quantities in Japan by the Casio computer company. the first F91W wrist watches rolled off the production line in 1991 and have maintained their popularity for the last twenty years.
The Casio F-91W wrist watch originated from Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan where Casio has it’s international headquarters. Very much a family company Tadao Kashio built the company from the ground up with his father and was actively engaged in product development till deceased at age 75.
In Classics on December 21, 2010 at 4:36 pm
Swatch ‘Once Again’ Wrist Watch
Creator: Franz Sprecher
Origin: Zurich, Switzerland
The Swatch ‘once again’ wrist watch is an analogue battery-powered wrist watch with a striking minimalist design. The once again model is the definitive original model in black and white with date window. The success of the Swatch wrist watch was achieved through a project to produce a Swiss made slim-line aggressively priced watch with a dramatically reduced number of components and a strong brand identity.
The Swatch wrist watch was created in response to the increasing dominance of Japanese watch makers in the mass market place. The reduced manufacturing costs allowed competition on price and the strong Swiss Watch brand identity differentiated it from it’s numerous competitors. The first Swatch wrist watches were offered for sale on March 1st 1983.
The Swatch wrist watch was born out of collaboration but arguably the most influential figure was Swiss marketing consultant Franz Sprecher who developed the notion of Swiss Watch and the explosively successful brand identity. The first Swatch wrist watches were offered for sale in Zurich, Switzerland and based on their instant success were launched progressively in Europe and world wide.