The importance of nature versus nurture is mostly one for the scientists. However, for me, the lay person, the question presented itself during a recent visit to my father’s home. You know how family behaviors or environments can be so familiar, to a point of near invisibility? Well, on this particular day, as I was sitting in my father’s study, his desk chair slowly came into focus. I’d looked at it many times before. I’d even sat in it. But never had I taken full stock of its Frankenstein qualities. As you can see, the seat is an assemblage of pillows and straps, all bound together with rope. It’s neither pretty nor comfortable. Although there is an interesting graphic quality to the way in which the rope weaves in and out of the holes. As an industrial designer, one who espouses simplicity and function, as well as comfort, I don’t in any way consider this to be a viable solution to the vexing question of what to sit on while at one’s desk. I’ve pondered the fact that the owner of the chair is indeed my father, and that I am his daughter. Dad, how did this happen?
I was looking through boxes of old photographs the other day and happened upon these pictures from a long ago wedding. At some point in the evening, I lent my camera to Delilah, my cousin’s daughter. She was 6 years old at the time. I didn’t think much of it until I picked up the photographs from the lab (yes, that’s one way it used to be done). At first, I had no idea what I was looking at. But then I remembered that the camera had been out of my possession for a short while…in the hands of a three and a half foot tall child. Wow, I never imagined that a wedding could be all chins, elbows and breasts.
Sometimes the smallest things grab your attention. When going through the mountain of paper at my mother’s house I came across this tiny folded piece of paper. It was an orphaned set of instructions to a long-ago lost Architector Set #12. The copyright says 1944. I searched online for any reference I could find but came up empty-handed.
Update: I did discover, thanks to Paul (see link in comments), who found a set on ebay, that the Architector Sets were designed by professional architects to encourage young people to pursue that field of study.
How about this for a work ID? A far cry from the crap plastic things hanging off one’s neck these days. My best guess is that my stepfather worked at Nash-Kelvinator Corporation sometime between 1937 and 1954. Kelvinator is now a brand owned by Electrolux, with many iterations of the company in between its founding and now. If you didn’t look closely enough, those lines behind his photo are a height chart. Oh, beauty really is in the details!
I came upon this box of wooden eyeglass models when going through my mother’s house. The pieces were stacked on end, so it wasn’t immediately obvious what they were. Holy crap!!! What a crazy wonderful surprise. Howard G. Jones, my stepfather, was an industrial designer who was born in 1910. He knew how to do things the old fashioned way, and these treasures are perfect examples of his world of analog design.
Copyright © 2010 - 2020 MELISSA EASTON, unless otherwise noted.