Just Added to Our Digital Collections
20 artifacts in this set
Early modernist design was starkly minimal, but mid-century modern designer Alexander Girard's work challenged and expanded the movement. Girard humanized modernism through his colorful and whimsical textile, furniture, graphic, and interior designs. As the Director of Design in Herman Miller's Textile Division from 1952 until 1973, Girard designed over 300 textiles, often using bold color combinations and abstract patterns.
Stylist Alex Tremulis designed the Chrysler Thunderbolt concept car during his time with coachbuilder Briggs Manufacturing Company. The distinctive Thunderbolt featured hidden headlights, a powered retractable hardtop, pushbutton door handles, and pontoon fenders that wrapped completely around the car -- including all four wheels. Five Thunderbolts were built and Chrysler toured them around the country, drawing excited crowds at every stop.
In the 1880s, Thomas Clarkson Gordon, a self-taught artist and Civil War veteran, created a panorama depicting scenes from the Civil War. Gordon stitched together 15 paintings -- each 7 by 14 feet -- into a canvas roll more than 100 feet long. He toured his multi-paneled panorama throughout eastern Indiana, retelling the history of the conflict through his vivid illustrations.
The first uniformed gas station attendants appeared around 1914. Attendants worked long hours in all weather, possessed a thorough knowledge of service requirements for various automobile makes and models, improvised quick repairs on the spot, provided directions to lost travelers, and did it all with a smile. Attendants disappeared with the widespread adoption of self-service pumps in the 1970s.
Blue boxes allowed people to make free, illegal, long-distance phone calls. They mimicked the same 2600hz "switching" tone used by telephone operators to connect people, tricking automated systems. In the 1960s, notorious "phone phreakers" infiltrated the telephone network; their actions were comparable to modern-day hackers. Built by Steve Wozniak, this box predates Apple Computer Inc. by four years.
Alex Tremulis (1914-1991) designed for several American automakers and coachbuilders over his long career. The 1930s found him with Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg, American Bantam and Briggs. After wartime work for the Army Air Corps, Tremulis styled the futuristic Tucker 48. Then it was on to Kaiser-Frazer. Tremulis was with Ford's design department from 1952-1962. He established his own consulting firm in 1963.