PENCIL POINTS September 1937
Kenneth Reid [Editor]: PENCIL POINTS. Stamford, CT: Reinhold Publishing Company, Volume 18, Number 9, September 1937. Original Edition. Perfect-bound magazine with side-stapled textblock. Thick printed wrappers. 136 pp. Text and advertisements. Wrappers lightly edgeworn and soiled. Few pages slightly tacky early and late. Textblock bright, white and secure. Uncredited cover design and typography by Gustav Jensen. A very good or better copy.
Walter Dorwin Teague -- Master of Design
Kenneth Reid [Editor]
8.75 x 11.75 original magazine with 136 pages of vintage content and advertising. "Pencil Points," the forerunner of Progressive Architecture embraced the streamline moderne aesthetic in the arts. This issue highlights Industrial Designer Walter Dorwin Teague.
- Walter Dorwin Teague -- Master of Design by Kenneth Reid. 32 pages and 60 black and white reproductions.
- Small Gardens in the City by Garrett Eckbo: 14 pages with 24 black and white photographs and diagrams.
- Craftmanship by Ralph Walker
- Pencil Points Data Sheets by Don Graf.
- General Advertising: an excellent assortment of vintage trade advertisments that espouse the depression moderne streamline aesthetic quite nicely. Products include concrete, wiring, store fronts, nu-wood, furnaces, etc.
During Walter Dorwin Teague's time, industrial designers were transforming ordinary objects by marrying materials, technique and function to produce the simplest and most efficient forms possible. The resulting products had an appearance that was a stark visual break from the past. Practitioners of this style of design, known as streamlining, art moderne or art deco, did away with most nonfunctional elements in favor of sleek designs. Their efforts transformed everything from automobiles, trains, ships and airplanes to cameras, buildings, furniture and appliances.
The trend began in the mid-1920s as an attempt by manufacturers to increase sales of consumer goods in a saturated marketplace by giving them a distinctive and modern look. At the most idealistic level, as exemplified by Teague, the new designs and the improved function they represented could be a force for good. "A better world than we have ever known can and will be built," Teague said. "Our better world may be expected to make equally available for everybody such rare things as interesting, stimulating work, emancipation from drudgery and a gracious setting for daily life."
Teague detailed his industrial and artistic philosophy in Design This Day, first published in 1940. His book appeared at about the time Hitler was invading Norway--before the United States entered World War II--and toward the end of the Great Depression. "We walk between catastrophe and apotheosis," he declared in Design This Day. "In spite of the mighty destructive powers that threaten us, our vision of a desirable life was never so clear and our means of realizing it never so ample."
Along with designers Norman Bel Geddes, Henry Dreyfuss and Raymond Loewy, Teague helped create the industrial design profession in America, defining the visual character of the 1930s and 1940s in the process.
He started his career in graphic arts, painting signs and drawing for catalogs, and later worked in advertising. A 1926 trip to Paris introduced him to new ideas in design. He returned believing that unity of design could create a more orderly world and decided to become an industrial designer. Teague started his own industrial design firm and received his first commission in 1927, designing cameras for Eastman Kodak. The relationship lasted for 30 years.
In 1936 he placed his signature on American roadsides. Texaco replaced its regionally styled gas stations with a single design--green and white porcelain-enamel stations designed by Teague. The clean look, highlighted with red stars, was easily identified by motorists. Although some of Teague's utopian ideals and radical design concepts never materialized, he was clearly a visionary. And we are still intrigued by his desire to build a better world.
Spreads from this volume can be viewed here.
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