Are you a stamp geek? I don’t mean a collector -- come on, that’s just weird. I mean, when you get to the post office, do you find yourself drifting over to the board of new stamps and going, “ooh ... Simpsons! I need those!” even though, in this age of online billing and Evites, you almost never actually get through a page of stamps?
I am. And the latest stamp-fest is made for me: it celebrates pretty, pretty industrial design -- pretty appliances, fancy furniture, and classic tchotchkes. Do you think these designs are stamp-worthy? What would you nominate for the next round, if you could?
Heck yeah! In case you’re not yet obsessed, Fiestaware dishes were introduced in the mid-'30s as a sleek, modern, cheap alternative to fussy, flowery kitchenware. You could mix and match their bold colors to personalize your palette. The originals are still hot items on eBay, even though they were later found to contain radioactive materials; these days, you can get updated (and safe!) versions in a constantly-evolving rainbow of colors.
The Brownie Camera
Ah, you’re all too young to remember this. Back in the olden days, the Brownie camera -- made of Bakelite, with art-deco touches -- was the all-purpose point-and-shoot for the common man. You could tell when someone was using a Brownie because you had to look down into the viewfinder, instead of pointing the camera at someone. The one here was made in the ‘30s, but the one my sister had must have been made later ... totally iconic. Totally cute. I wish I had one! Is there a Brownie Hipstamatic filter?
Groovy Pencil Sharpener
Does this graphite-grinder look familiar? Its designer also created the “Coldspot” refrigerator, that one with the handle you had to yank to open that used to be in people’s summer houses in Maine. (Am I the only one who remembers this? I feel like Oldy Oleson right now.) You have to love a guy who made it his mission to make everyday objects beautiful, just because it makes people feel better.
Modern Table Lamp
Hey, have you ever seen the inside of the Radio City Music Hall in New York City? Its designer made this lamp. It’s insanely beautiful and solid. It makes me want to find that Pixar lamp and punch it right in the bulb.
Big Heavy Phone
So old it’s new again: The kind of classic design we yearn for so much, it inspired newer versions of itself in touch-tone and even iPhone-friendly versions. He also designed the “Trimline” phone, which was the first one to have the dial on the handset. (I know. DIAL! Squee!)
So-Cute Sewing Machines
Little factoid about moi: My sewing machine is a hand-me-down from a friend, who was holding on to her mom’s old machine. It fits in its own suitcase and is so heavy I use it to weigh down a bookshelf in the kids’ room. I need to take the manual out every time I have to thread it or change a bobbin. Would it be easier to get an updated version? Yes. Would it have been cheaper than spending $90 to refurbish this one? Possibly. Will I ever give up this objet d’art? NEVER.
And the One Clunker:
Ugh! Blech! No! Holy crap! Listen, the electric typewriter was a great innovation. In the roughly 20 years between big black steampunk Underwoods and sleek word processors, it got the job done. But beautiful? No. It didn’t even come in nice colors. Thumbs down, Postal Service!
What They Forgot:
Where’s the classic KitchenAid Stand Mixer -- that beautiful waster of counter space that everyone asks for and nobody uses?
What do you think they should have included? What’s your favorite of these designs?