Henry Dreyfuss, Industrial Designer: The Man in the Brown Suit

ISBN 10: 0847820106 / ISBN 13: 9780847820108
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Synopsis: Henry Dreyfuss (1904-1972) was one of the pioneers of American industrial design, the man behind the modern look and function of so many household objects used by millions of Americans during the golden age of industrial design from the 1930s to the 1960s. During his 44-year career the versatile Dreyfuss designed or retooled hundreds of products that have become icons of modern design, among them the Princess and Trimline telephones, John Deere tractors, and Hoover vacuum cleaners, which Dreyfuss outfitted with headlights and bumpers in the 1930s to prevent dented and scratched furniture. Additional objects and spaces he designed range from the familiar Honeywell wall-mounted round thermostat to the Big Ben alarm clock, trains such as the classic 20th Century Limited for the New York Central Railroad, and the "Situation Room" for the Joint Chiefs of Staff during World War II. This first published monograph on Dreyfuss surveys his life and work through 200 archival and new photographs of his designs and a biographical text that paints the picture of an eminently practical yet eccentric innovator. Dreyfuss streamlined even his wardrobe by wearing only brown suits, stayed exclusively at the Plaza Hotel when in New York so clients could always find him, and reportedly missed only five days of work in twenty-two years. This book is published in conjunction with a major exhibition of Dreyfuss's work at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution, New York.

Review: Several architects and planners have had larger roles than Henry Dreyfuss (1904-72) in creating the look of 20th-century America, and other industrial designers were flashier. But none were more creative in making common objects--sewing machines, vacuum cleaners, tractors, wall thermostats, telephones (a single series of one of his Bell phones sold 162 million units)--attractive, unobtrusive and easy to use.... The 200 photographs are intensely evocative of the great age of design from the 30's through the 60's and Mr. Flinchum's account of the designer's life and work is judicious, if not eloquent. -- The New York Times Book Review, D. J. R. Bruckner

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Title: Henry Dreyfuss, Industrial Designer: The Man...
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