The Secretary, a copying machine, designed by , 32, of Harley Earl, Inc. for 3M Co.,Thermo-Fax Division, was introduced by the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (3M) in 1958. The product was awarded one of three National Awards and Medals annually by the Industrial Designers Institute (IDI) in 1958. Highberger was the youngest designer to ever receive the award for "Excellence in product design."
Volkswagen of America (just established) introduced its Karmann Ghia coupé in the US. An alternative sleek new body style for the standard Beetle chassis, it was designed by Carrozzeria Ghia in Turin, Italy. Sticker price was $2395.
Production of the 1200 coupé began in August, 1955. A convertible was added in August 1957, and both were produced for about ten years.
In 1956, only 70,000 Beetles had been produced for the US (19 million were produced by 1978).
Ford's Thunderbird, its first sports car, was designed by Bill Burnett, William F. Boyer, and Franklin Quick Hershey. It was introduced in 1955 to compete with Chevrolet's 1953 Corvette sports car, GM's answer to sporty European imports.
In their early forms, both cars were mostly caricatures of sports cars, concerned with superficial connotations of speed and maneuverability than with their mechanical accomplishments.
In 1954, the Sweepmaster, designed by James G. Balmer, Jr., IDSA and Frederick W. Hertzler; and engineered by Carl B. Denny, all of Harley Earl Associates, Inc., was introduced by the Bissell Carpet Sweeper Company.
The Sweepmaster won a design award in 1955 from the Industrial Designers Institute (IDI), which was the only US design organization presenting national design awards between 1951 and 1965.
Servel, Inc., the sole manufacturer of gas absorption refrigerators since 1926, introduced the Wonderbar, a compact portable refrigerator designed by industrial designer and Servel VP of Product Planning, Donald Dailey. The Wonderbar, made almost completely of Bakelite plastic, was designed to get refrigerators into rooms other than the kitchen. Servel also later introduced the first automatic ice-maker in its full-sized refrigerator, also styled by Dailey and his staff.
This Studebaker Commander Starliner hard-top coupé design was acclaimed by the Museum of Modern Art not as a design, but as "a work of art." It became known as the "Loewy Coupé" or "Bourke Coupé."
It was designed starting in 1951 by Robert E. Bourke (1916-1996), who headed Raymond Loewy Associates Studebaker operation in South Bend, IN from 1949 to 1955, with help from his assistants, Randy Faurot and Holden "Bob" Koto.
In 1952, this Model 1500 Flight bathroom scale was designed by Don DeFano, Richard Latham (see below) and Franz Wagner of Raymond Loewy Associates. It was introduced by the Borg-Erickson Company in 1953 at $15.00, and was later selected by Fortune magazine as one of the top 500 designs of all time.
In 1927, General Electric introduced this "Monitor Top" refrigerator, so-named by the public because of the resemblance of the exposed compressor on top of its cabinet to the cylindrical turret of the Civil War gunship, the Monitor.
The product, priced at $525, was designed by Chief Engineer Christian Steenstrup (1873-1955). It had a single door, and was the first all-steel refrigerator cabinet, earlier versions having been of wood to imitate furniture cabinetry.
The Vienna Café chair No. 14 is probably the most successful example of Thonet bentwood furniture. Certainly it is the most simple and prolific. It was produced starting in 1859, as a "chair for mass consumption," and by 1930, more than 50 million had been produced. It is assembled from six pieces of wood held together with screws and nuts, with a caned seat.