Some products were perfect in the past. They fulfilled a singular need so well that perfection, in some small sliver of our existence, suddenly seemed attainable. They helped usher in a new epoch of product consciousness. Far from gone, their influence lives on in the countless derivations we all use every day.
Vitsoe 606 Universal Shelving System
Designed by Dieter Rams in 1960, the Vitsoe 606 Universal Shelving System has become an icon in the history of modern furniture, so it's rightfully a Past Perfect. But it's not just an outdated product! Vitsoe has been producing and selling their timeless shelving systems to happy customers for over 50 years. A long lasting product and great design are the fundamentals of a Desired item.
In the 1960s Braun started producing the most beautiful and functional consumer products on the market. The first to follow Dieter Rams' ten principles for good design, these items on display are a perfect example of how Braun products made 50 years ago would slowly become the design influence for the most coveted gadgets of our time.
The look is iconic and the designer is legendary. There are multiple model numbers but only one nickname: Snow White's Coffin. Designed by Dieter Rams and Hans Gugelot for Braun in the 1960s, this record player-radio is as much beautiful as it is functional.
The Field Journal is a staple in scientific research and is used to document every bit of useful information for future reference. Sometimes a Field Journal can be the record of a great discovery that will later be shared with the entire world, and lucky for you Michael Novacek's journal on loan from American Museum of Natural History is just that!
The Polaroid SX-70 wasn't the first instant camera, but it was the first instant SLR, and the first to use Polaroid's iconic print film that developed automatically. It folded up to fit in your pocket. And it changed amateur photography forever.
Sony Dream Machine
Once upon a time, our alarm clocks did not live in our phones. They existed independently, generally on our nightstands. And they provided homes for other utilities, such as radios. Sony's line of Dream Machines are iconic and one has probably made its way into many of our homes at one point or another.
The advent of the disposable camera changed the way people took photos. Cheap, easy to use, and easy to develop, disposable cameras simplified the process for even the densest of tech Luddites. Kodak's first disposable camera came in the form of the Fling, a precursor to the more recognizable Funsaver and a technical achievement that also impacted the masses in a significant way.
More than a 100 years after its introduction, the incandescent light bulb affects all our lives. And the early designs inspired by Thomas Edison's first bulb still look as awesome now as they probably did back then. Employing a soft orange glow with a visually appealing filament design, Edison bulbs are the perfect way to add a splash of retro design to your home.
In many ways, the Nokia 2160 was the first cellphone we could identify with as a piece of truly personal technology. Arriving in 1996, it was one of the first phones to offer features such as address books, games, ringtones, and an intuitive UI all in one device. It could be tweaked and customized to your liking, and offered a blueprint for the next decade of cellphone innovation.
If you don't know French, Le Creuset means "Awesome Pots to Cook Awesome Food In." It also means "Cute Design That Would Let You Cook Duck Cassoulet to Perfection." That's precisely what this dutch oven does.
Polar White Bear Arctic USSR 24 Hour Watch
The 24-hour Russian army watch is a relic of the Cold War. They were originally developed for polar explorers who couldn't very well be expected to know whether it was morning or night and were later worn by iconoclasts like Joe Strummer as a fashion statement.
Bulova 96a102 Watch
During World War II the United States Military needed an abundance of inexpensive, reliable watches—millions of them, in fact. Thus the hack watch in all of its incarnations. Bulova was one of the manufacturers that got the call. This watch isn't an original; it is a short-lived reissue of the simple, lightweight, easy-to-read design that served along with our soldiers who served overseas.
IBM School Clock
The IBM wall clock is not only a piece of mid-century industrial design that has aged quite well, but it also houses an ingenious secret. Once upon a time when used in schools, this clock (and others) synced to a central timekeeper using a special electric circuit and a clutch magnet, making sure that lunchtime arrived at the exact same moment for everyone.
This is one of the original Macintoshes that was manufactured at Apple's Fremont factory in the 28th week of 1984. Inside you can see the signatures of everyone on the original Mac team, including their leader Steve Jobs. Jobs treated his engineers as artists, and he made them sign their art.