Founders of American Industrial Design

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About the Book

As the Great Depression started in 1929, several dozen creative individuals from a variety of artistic fields, including theatre, advertising, graphics, fashion and furniture design, pioneered a new profession. Responding to unprecedented public and industry demand for new styles, these artists entered the industrial world during what was called the “Machine Age,” to introduce “modern design” to the external appearance and form of mass-produced, functional, mechanical consumer products formerly not considered art.
The popular designs by these “machine designers” increased sales and profits dramatically for manufacturers, which helped the economy to recover; established a new profession, industrial design; and within a decade, changed American products from mechanical monstrosities into sleek, modern forms expressive of the future. This book is about those industrial designers and how they founded, developed, educated and organized today’s profession of more than 50,000 practitioners.

About the Author(s)

Carroll Gantz is a professional industrial designer who holds several dozen patents. A long-time Black & Decker design director, and a Carnegie Mellon University professor, he is a past president of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA). He lives on Seabrook Island in South Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

Carroll Gantz
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 220
Bibliographic Info: 89 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7686-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1650-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments   ix

Preface   1

Introduction   3

1. The “Artless” and “Art” Industries   5

2. The Arrival of Art Deco   17

3. Modern Design Meets the Depression   29

4. Streamlining and the Chicago Fair   42

5. Industrial Design Unleashed   56

6. Recovery, Plastics, and Education   69

7. Labor Design and Design Organization   81

8. War Drums and the New York Fair   95

9. Organic Design and World War II   110

10. “The Club” and Postwar   123

11. Celebrity and “Good Design”   134

12. Competition and Controversy   146

13. Cold War, Mergers, and Computers   161

14. Postmodern and Passages   174

Chapter Notes   185

Bibliography   188

Index   191