Donald R. Dohner

Donald R. Dohner
(1897-1943)

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

Donald 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. Donald 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 CIT in 1935 to initiate a similar program at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, becoming the program's Supervisor. In 1943 he opened a design office, Dohner and Lippincott, with J. Gordon Lippincott.

Donald died tragically on Christmas Eve, 1943. He was succeded in his role at the Pratt by Alexander Kostellow, FIDSA.