Ms. Gantz, I…I Think I Love You

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Hot damn. Here’s one of those books that I’d heard about, probably even picked up somewhere, maybe we’ve even got a copy at the studio. But it’s one where, when you find again, it feels like you’ve just come across the bestest pot of gold ever. It’s Carroll M. Gantz’s “Design Chronicles: Significant Mass-Produced Designs of the 20th Century” and it’s filled with the designers and the products that everyone knew about but never cared to really ask about. Amazing, this kind of stuff. And what’s more, if you’re not quite willing to part with the $75 this book demands, this page on the iDSA site lets you read about all kinds of interesting, highly-familiar people and things. Here’s the whole rundown on the book:

Here are the design stories of everyday material, “stuff,” from cars to Dustbusters, phonographs to DVDs, that makes our lives easier, more exciting, and more comfortable through mass-production. Descriptive vignettes and over 400 illustrations of popular culture as it progressed through the 20th century. Each year is an illustrated double-page spread, showing how design evolved in a precise timeline.

Learn fascinating stories behind familiar products, the men and women who invented or designed them, and how their designs came to life or, in some cases, failed. It is the story of how America rose to world leadership through its unique ability to bring household conveniences and technological benefits to all, at reasonable cost, thus raising the nation’s standard of living. Major technological developments and new materials that made innovative designs possible are also identified.

For the industrial designer or student of design, this is a fantastic history of the profession, illustrating connections to invention, architecture, engineering, manufacturing, and business. Written by a distinguished industrial designer, the book offers a unique year-by-year chronology, “what was happening when” in design, and names its movers and shakers.