Donald R. Dohner

Donald R. Dohner
(1897-1943)

A US industrial designer, grew up in Indiana and studied at John Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis, the Academy of Fine Arts, Chicago, and Chicago Art Institute. In 1918 he went to Pittsburgh to study set design at Carnegie Institute of Technology (CIT), but while waiting for classes to begin, took a teaching job as Industrial Arts instructor in the Pittsburgh public school system, then became a faculty member of CIT (now Carnegie Mellon University).

He started with Westinghouse as a design consultant in 1926, teaching there as an "Art Engineer", and was hired as Director of Art in the engineering department of its Heavy Industry Division in 1929. He and his staff of eight contributed to the design of 128 products, including electric ranges, diesel-electric locomotives, water coolers, and ash trays. In 1934, he left Westinghouse and initiated the world's first degreed program in industrial design at CIT.

He left there in 1935 to initiate a similar program at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, becoming its Supervisor. In 1943 he opened a design office, Dohner and Lippincott, with J. Gordon Lippincott.

Dohner died tragically on Christmas Eve 1943 and was replaced in 1944 at Pratt by Alexander Kostellow.