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Thursday 3 January 2019

The Top 10 Best Designed Products, 1900-1959

It will be 60 years this coming March 27 since the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago announced the results of its survey to find the "best designed products of modern times" (1900-1959). One hundred leading designers, architects and  design educators voted, and products were "selected on the basis of beauty and mechanics and their basic facility to fill a real human need". A news release from the IIT's Department of Public Relations listed the Top 100 items (full list below). Here is the Top 10:
No 1.
Olivetti Lettera 22 portable typewriter: Designed in Ivrea, Italy, in 1949, by Marcello Nizzoli (mask) and Giuseppe Beccio (mechanics). Nizzoli had two other designs in the Top 100, another coming in at No 11. Other typewriters in the Top 100 were the IBM Electric (No 44) and the Hermes Baby (No 81). The Futura typeface came in at No 99.
No 2.
Eames Chair: Charles Eames and Ray Eames's plywood and steel side car (1946).
No 3.
Barcelona Chair: Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1929.
No 4.
Studebaker: 1953 hardtop coupe, redesigned by Robert Bourke, from Raymond Loewy's design studio.
No 5.
Parker 51 fountain pen: Designed in 1940 by Martin S. Baker.
No 6.
Lincoln Continental: 1939-41 series. Originally a personal vehicle for Ford Motor Company President Edsel Ford, commissioned in 1938 from company chief stylist Eugene T. "Bob" Gregorie. 
No 7.
Edison Voicewriter VP: Designed by Carl Otto in 1953.
No 8.
Frigidaire 'Sheer Look': 1957 appliances.
No 9.
Hallicrafters radio: Chicago company founded by William J. Halligan in 1932.
No 10.
Bell 500 Telephone: Designed by Henry Dreyfuss in 1948 from sketches by Bell engineer Robert Hose. Dreyfuss also redesigned the Royal Quiet De Luxe portable typewriter in 1945.  


Bill M said...

Those are some nifty products. I remember those old Studebakers. Looks like the Zenith Transoceanic was modeled after the Hallicrafters.

Richard P said...

Thanks! I've never seen the list before. Some of the products are recognizable classics. Others are surprises (refrigerators? really?).

Ted said...

Don't laugh, Richard - there are people who collect vintage refrigerators and other household appliances. :D

TonysVision said...

Believe it or not, we nearly bought a house once because a vintage refrigerator (the one with the condenser coils on top looking like a stack of pancakes) was included. We came to our senses.