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Bayer, Herbert (05 April 1900–30 September 1985), artist, industrial designer, and architect, was born in Haag (near Salzburg), Austria, the son of Maximilian Bayer, a rural government bureaucrat, and Rosa Simmer. Bayer traced his lifetime interests in nature and art to early alpine treks with his father and to watercolor landscape painting encouraged by his mother....

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Deskey, Donald (23 November 1894–29 April 1989), industrial and interior designer, was born in Blue Earth, Minnesota, the son of Robert Deskey, a German immigrant and proprietor of a dry goods and clothing store, and Fannie Katsky. In 1912, after graduating from high school, he left rural Minnesota and moved to California. During the following three years he worked at a variety of jobs, including bartending, drafting, and surveying. Beginning in 1915 he also attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied architecture and painting. He left college in 1917 to enlist in the army, but at the end of the war he resumed his peregrinations in the West. In 1920 he began a career in advertising and publicity in Chicago, and the following year he moved to New York, where despite meager resources he opened a successful advertising agency....

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Dreyfuss, Henry (02 March 1904–05 October 1972), industrial designer, was born in New York City, the son of Louis Dreyfuss, a supplier of theatrical props and costumes, and Elsie Gorge. Dreyfuss attended New York City’s Ethical Culture High School, from which he graduated in 1922. At Ethical Culture, Dreyfuss absorbed a seriousness of purpose and a set of progressive and reformist ideals that remained with him for the rest of his life. In 1924 Dreyfuss apprenticed himself to designer ...

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Charles Eames. [left to right]Ray Eames and Charles Eames. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-103825).

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Eames, Charles (17 June 1907–21 August 1978), architect, furniture designer, and filmmaker, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Charles Ormond Eames, a Pinkerton security officer, and Marie Celine Adele Pauline Lambert. In 1921 Eames’s discovery of photographic equipment belonging to his father, who had died that year, initiated his lifelong interest in photography. He began his formal architectural education at Washington University in St. Louis on a scholarship in 1925. Prior to his enrollment, Eames had worked as a laborer with the LaClede Steel Company and as a designer of electrical lighting fixtures with the Edwin F. Guth Fixture Company, and while attending the university he worked summers as a draftsman in a St. Louis architectural office, Trueblood and Graf. He left school in 1928, his sophomore year. Despite his lack of a formal degree in architecture, other jobs and contacts in St. Louis substantially contributed to his education and to the development of his interests and skills in all aspects of design....

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Ray Eames. [left to right]Ray Eames and Charles Eames. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-103825).

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Eames, Ray (15 December 1912–21 August 1988), designer and filmmaker, was born Ray Kaiser in Sacramento, California, the daughter of Alexander Kaiser, an insurance salesman, and Edna Mary Burr. In 1933, after graduating from the May Bennett School in Millbrook, New York, she began studying painting with Hans Hoffmann in New York City. She was a founding member of American Abstract Artists, which first exhibited as a group in 1937 in New York City....

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Norman Bel Geddes Photograph by Arnold Genthe, 1925. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-G401-T-4759-003).

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Geddes, Norman Bel (21 April 1893–08 May 1958), scene and lighting designer, industrial designer, and producer, was born Norman Melancton Geddes in Adrian, Michigan, the son of Clifton Terry Geddes and Gloria Lulu Yingling. He was educated in public schools in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Illinois before attending the Cleveland School of Art and the prestigious Chicago Art Institute by the time he was sixteen years old. When he was in his early twenties, Geddes had his earliest successes as a magazine and poster artist in Detroit, Michigan. He designed his first theatrical production, ...

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Raymond Loewy Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-104134).

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Loewy, Raymond Fernand (05 November 1893–14 July 1986), industrial designer, was born in Paris, France, the son of Maximilian Loewy, the managing editor of a financial journal, and Marie Labalme. Loewy grew up in Paris, where he saw the introduction of the automobile, airplane, telephone, and phonograph and became an enthusiastic apologist for the machine age, no matter its ills. After studying at the Université de Paris from 1910, serving in the French Corps of Engineers from 1914 until 1918 as a liaison officer with the American Expeditionary Force in World War I, and being awarded the croix de guerre four times, he received an engineering degree from the École de Laneau in 1918....

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Noyes, Eliot Fette (12 August 1910?–18 July 1977), designer and architect, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Atherton Noyes, an English professor. His mother’s name is unknown. Noyes attended Phillips Andover Academy and Harvard University, where he majored in Greek and the classics. He withdrew from Harvard to spend two years in Iran on an archaeological expedition. He returned to the United States and in 1938 married Mary Duncan Weed; they had four children. That same year he graduated from the Harvard Graduate School of Design with a master’s degree in architecture. He took his first job in Cambridge in the office of ...

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Stevens, Brooks (07 June 1911–04 January 1995), industrial designer, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of William C. Stevens, a vice president of the Cutler-Hammer Company, manufacturers of industrial equipment, and Sally Stevens, whose maiden name is unknown. Young Stevens showed an early aptitude for drawing, and while recovering from polio during childhood he spent many hours perfecting his skill. After attending local schools he enrolled at Cornell University in 1929 to study architecture; although he remained there for four years, he left before graduating, realizing that building construction was in abeyance thanks to the Great Depression. Returning home to Milwaukee, Stevens took his father's advice and set himself up in business as a design consultant for companies building machinery. Then Cutler-Hammer duly hired him to design a line of electrical controls as well as a corporate logo....

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Tupper, Earl Silas (28 July 1907–03 October 1983), inventor, was born in Berlin, New Hampshire, the son of farmers. Soon after his birth the family moved to a farm in Massachusetts where young Tupper enjoyed buying and selling vegetables. After graduating from high school in 1926, Tupper turned his hobby into a small mail-order business for household items such as combs and toothbrushes. During this time the self-described “ham inventor and Yankee trader” found another area in which to tinker—chemical engineering. Tupper’s self-taught skills led him to Du Pont, where he worked as an engineer during the 1930s. While at Du Pont, Tupper became fascinated by plastic, an interest that continued through the remainder of his life....

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Wright, Russel (03 April 1904–22 December 1976), industrial designer, was born in Lebanon, Ohio, the son of Willard Wright, a local judge, and Harryet Morris Crigler. Wright began his artistic career with a brief period of study at the Cincinnati Art Academy. In the autumn of 1920 he moved to New York City and enrolled at the Art Students League. The following fall he entered Princeton University. Indifferent to academic life, Wright left Princeton in 1924 intent on a career in the theater. During the early 1920s he worked as an assistant and apprentice to ...