You'll all recognize this George Nelson clock designed over half a century ago:
Nelson's 1949 design has become so iconic that if we were playing Industrial Design Pictionary, and you had to make your partner say "Herman Miller clock," this is what you'd draw.
(Note: Though often associated with Herman Miller—Nelson designed the clock while he was the company's Director of Design—the "ball clock" was actually produced by Herman Miller's timepiece spin-off, the Howard Miller Clock Company, run by Herman's son Howard. Thanks to sharp-eyed reader Dan Lewis for the catch!)
But there is another, even more striking design from sixteen years earlier that doesn't seem to get the same love. In fact I don't even recall even seeing this in History of Industrial Design 101. ID'er Gilbert Rohde—one of the IDSA's co-founders—designed this beaut' in 1933:
Made of chrome-plated metal and glass, Rohde's design was not a sales hit, hardly a surprise when you consider the year of its release. By '33 the Great Depression was in full swing, and it's safe to say few folks were looking for an avant-garde desk clock that we assume wasn't cheap. If there was a store called Design Definitely Not Within Reach So Please Stay Your Dusty Ass Outside and Don't Come In this would've been in the front window. As the Metropolitan Museum of Art puts it,
The [clock's] color scheme of black, red, and silver and the use of sleek materials such as chrome and glass typify the kind of furnishings that complemented luxury interiors of the 1930s. Although most people were struggling to make ends meet during the decade-long Great Depression, the elegant penthouse atop a skyscraper apartment building represented a privileged fantasy world that dominated Hollywood movie sets as well as designs for luxury city dwellings created by the most contemporary architects and designers.
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This is awesome. Thanks for sharing.
Nelson's clocks were for Howard Miller
Clock not Herman Miller.
Dan, good catch. Now editing. Thanks for sounding off!
Atleast they're similar! And across the street from each other...