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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Henry P. Glass

Henry P. Glass
Henry P. Glass (1911-2003) was born in Vienna, Austria, and received a master's degree in architecture from the Technical University of Vienna.

When Austria was occupied by Germany in 1938, Glass was sent to Dachau and then Buchenwald until his wife obtained his release. In 1939 the couple emigrated to New York City, where Glass worked for Russel Wright and Gilbert Rohde.

In 1942 he moved to Chicago and studied under László Moholy-Nagy and György Kepes. In 1946 he established Henry P. Glass and Associates. That same year, he started the industrial design department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and remained a professor there until 1969.

In 1948 he designed his own home, one of the first passive solar designs of its type. The house contained many unique features, including built-in furnishings, a flexible floor plan and thermopane windows.

An interesting bit of trivia is that a sofa designed by Glass was used on the set of the 1952-53 season of I Love Lucy.


Henry P. Glass house
Henry P. Glass house
Lounge chair
Masonite chairs
Swingline cabinet
Rendering of Fada radio

Friday, June 29, 2012

Update: M. G. Wheeler Sightlight

Almost a year ago, I posted about Sightlight lamps. At the time, I had found one on Craigslist but knew very little about it. After the original post, I continued my research but turned up few facts. Interestingly, though, people continued to comment...either to volunteer more information or to ask questions.

A couple of days ago, yet another comment prompted me to start searching again, and I finally hit paydirt. The Sightlight was designed by Leroy C. Doane. He filed for a patent on June 7, 1946, and the patent was granted on October 5, 1948. The lamps were manufactured by M. G. Wheeler Co., Inc. of Greenwich, Connecticut. I've seen photos of marked lamps with different bases, arms and tops, so several variations must have been manufactured. That's the subject for further investigation.

But for all of you who have wanted to know who the designer was...another mystery solved.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

In the store: Sleeping in style

The latest addition to the store is a solid oiled walnut bedroom set by Dillingham. The set includes a 9-drawer dresser, a tallboy with attached vanity, a mirror and a king headboard.

Aside from the set's exceptional quality, one of the things that makes it somewhat unusual for a vintage bedroom grouping is the king-size headboard. Many people pass by mid-century bedroom furniture because  they have no use for a full-size bed, but this set has it all...classy looks and a headboard that will fit your bed.

Oh, and did I mention that it's solid walnut? No corners cut on these pieces! My SIL said he's tempted to keep this set for himself...and he rarely says that, so you know it has to be something special.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

500,000 and counting

If you had told me on September 6, 2010, that I'd be writing this today, I wouldn't have believed it.

First of all, I had just clicked "Publish" on my very first post and had no idea how blogging really worked. Second, I had the weird feeling most new bloggers get that somehow the post was going to float around in cyberspace forever and never be read.

But, most of all, I had no idea that what I was posting about would interest anyone but me...or that I knew enough about mid-century design to be able to keep a blog going.

Thanks to all my readers, the regular and the occasional, I'm not only celebrating my birthday today, but I'm also celebrating 500,000 hits. That may not be a big deal to the sites that get 500,000 in a single day, but it's a big deal to me, and I want you to know how much I appreciate your loyalty and support. I couldn't have asked for a nicer gift! So I'll give a little back to you...

Fifty years from now: Hella Jongerius

Hella Jongerius
Hella Jongerius (1963- ) is a Dutch designer who has become known for the special way she fuses industry and craft, high and low tech, traditional and contemporary. Creating items from ceramics, steel, plastic, felt and precious metals, she emphasizes simple forms and rich textures.

Jongerius studied industrial design at the Eindhoven Design Academy. After graduating in 1993, she started Jongeriuslab in Rotterdam. In 2008 she moved her firm to Berlin, where she designs products for clients such as Maharam, Royal Tichelaar Makkum, Swarovski, Vitra and IKEA. She designs a broad range of products, including furniture, lighting, textiles and glassware but has a particular interest in ceramics.

Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries such as the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, the Museum of Modern Art and Moss gallery in New York, the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, the Design Museum in London, and the Galerie KREO in Paris. It will no doubt still be in demand fifty years from now.

A survey of Jongerius's work entitled Misfit was published by Phaidon in 2003.

From, and
All images from

Felt stool

Tea pot

Blossom fixture

Swatch table

Big White Pot and Red White Vase

Rotterdam chair

Folded  washtub

IKEA Jonsberg vases

Turtle table

Bob Garden club chair

Soft urn

Polder sofa

Jens Risom sofa in our store upholstered in Jongerius fabric

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

That's entertainment: Queen for a Day

Would YOU like to be Queen for a Day?

This popular program started on radio in 1945. Host Jack Bailey posed the question for the first time on national television in January of 1956, and the show continued to be aired on weekday afternoons until 1964.

The show was broadcast live from the Moulin Rouge, a dinner theater on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Every day four women were chosen from the audience to compete for the crown. Each one would tell a personal hardship story and ask for something specific to make her life easier. Then the audience would be asked to clap for the candidates, and an applause meter would indicate the winner. Each day's program also included a fashion show with commentary by Jeanne Cagney, sister of actor James Cagney. Sometimes famous entertainers would visit the set and pose for a photograph with the winning contestant.

Queen for a Day is considered to be a forerunner of today's reality programs on television, and it was every bit as sensational...and often they are now. Each woman would try to top the other's story. The sadder the story, the more likely the woman was to be selected. Tears apparently got you bonus applause points.

To the tune of Pomp and Circumstance, the winner would be draped in a velvet cloak trimmed in ermine, receive a glittering rhinestone crown, be given a dozen red roses and would usually either weep dramatically as her prizes were described...or forget to be sad altogether. She would, of course, be given the prize she requested, but that was just the beginning. Often she would receive a vacation, household appliances or clothing.

I remember watching the show with my mother after school, although looking back, I can't imagine why she thought it was suitable for an elementary school child to view. In all honesty, it was a pretty depressing way to spend 30 minutes.


The question
The introductions
The interview
The applause meter
The coronation
The prizes
The occasional guest appearance (Frankie Avalon)
Uploaded by MrLegalmovies on Oct 7, 2011

Monday, June 25, 2012

Michael Lax

Michael Lax (1929-1999) was born in New York and graduated in 1947 from the New York School of Music and Art. In 1951 he graduated from Alfred University, where he had studied modern ceramics techniques.

In 1954 he won a Fullbright Fellowship to Finland, where he studied Scandinavian design just as it was becoming popular. In 1956 Russel Wright hired him to work on a series of dinnerware designs. After working for Wright, he freelanced until 1960, when he started working on a line of enameled cast-iron cookware for Copco, which was noted for bringing a Scandinavian flair to American design. His 1962 teak-handled teakettle is one of his most famous designs. He continued to work for Copco through the 1980s.

Also during the 1960s he created the Lytegem lamp for Lightolier, which is part of the permanent design collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He also designed for Dansk, Rosenthal, Salton and Dunbar Glass.

In 1977 Lax received a Rome Prize for studing art at the American Academy in Rome. He moved to Italy in 1984 to pursue a career in sculpture. He set up a studio in Pietrasanta to work in marble and cast bronze.


Raymor Capri by Hyalyn

Raymor Capri martini pitcher by Hyalyn

Copco teakettle

Copco fondue set - kibster

Primaries casserole for Iroquois China - zetro

Vase by Hyalyn
Lytegem high intensity lamps

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Flavio Poli

Flavio Poli (1900-1984) was an Italian designer and businessman. He was born in Chioggia and attended the Istituto d'Aret di Venezia. He began his career as a designer of ceramics but switched to glass in 1929 when he went to work for Libero Vitali's I.V.A.M.

While there he designed animals and  nude figures, as well as bowls and urns with figures resting on the inside, on lids or as handles. He later worked with the Compagnia di Venezia e Murano, with Mario and Lino Nason and with engraver Gino Francesconi.

In 1934 he accepted the position of artistic director for Barovier, Seguso & Ferro, which later became Seguso Vetri d'Arte and became a partner three years later. Together with Archimede Seguso, he created grand lighting installations, acid-corroded (corroso) vessels and glass sculptures. At the height of his career, in the years between 1950 and 1960, he designed a series of sommerso (cased) glass pieces in a Scandinavian style 
which won a number of prestigious prizes.

He left Seguso in 1963 and organized the glass division at Società Veneziana Conterie e Cristallerie.


Sommerso lamp
Sommerso vase
Floor lamp
Fish sculptures
Geode sommerso bowl
Corroso horse
Sommerso vase
Sommerso bowl
Triangular sommerso vase
Glass bird
Sommerso vase
Corroso bowl