Norman Bel Geddes (American, 18931958); Emerson Radio and Phonograph Corp., New York
Catalin; 8 x 11 x 5 1/2 in. (20.3 x 27.9 x 14 cm)
John C. Waddell Collection, Gift of John C. Waddell, 2001 (2001.722.11)
As one of America's most prolific and influential industrial designers, Norman Bel Geddes helped create the Streamlined style that defined American design throughout the 1930s and early '40s. In addition to cars, trains, and other industrial designs, Bel Geddeswho had substantial experience as a theatrical designercreated a number of memorable exhibitions for world's fairs, including the 1934 Century of Progress exhibition in Chicago and the New York World's Fair of 1939. Through these large exhibitions, Bel Geddes sought to promote both American technology and culture, thereby helping to bolster national pride during the difficult years of the Great Depression. His "Patriot" radio design of 1939 likewise features technology, in this case a radio encased within the unabashedly patriotic stars-and-stripes motif of its case, to create an optimistic and useful emblem of American technology, industry, and identity.