Pencil Sharpener Is Stream-Lined (Jul, 1934)

Man, I bet that thing moves fast!

Pencil Sharpener Is Stream-Lined

THIS stream-lined pencil sharpener is a novel addition to any office, home, or workroom. It was designed by Raymond Loewy, well-known designer of automobiles and office equipment.

Even though the sharpener is much smaller than conventional units, the inventor asserts it is just as efficient and even easier to use. The stream-lined chromium-plated finish with tear-drop design head adds a dash of modernism to the tiny device.

This new sharpener can be fastened to any table top or to the wall. Shavings are readily removed from the base.

12 comments
  1. Neil Russell says: July 23, 20087:17 am

    The inventor apparently is an adherent to the concept of “if it looks better it runs better”

    Although I do love the streamlined look, it’s sorely lacking today

  2. galessa says: July 23, 20088:14 am

    Mr. Loewy surely streamlined the sales curves of this thing.

  3. Alan Levita says: July 23, 20088:22 am

    Mr. Loewy was also the designer of the colour scheme for the Air Force One.

  4. nevrdull says: July 23, 20081:32 pm

    wow. now you can sharpen your pencil at 300 miles an hour..

  5. Charlene says: July 24, 200812:17 am

    I want that pencil sharpener so badly.

  6. Torgo says: July 24, 20086:14 pm

    How is it sorely lacking today? I sharpens pencils, and it looks beautiful — what more can it do?

  7. Randy says: July 24, 200810:30 pm

    From the mind who designed the Studebaker Avanti! No more needs to be said.

  8. Odon says: July 25, 20084:15 am

    “Until the Thirties, all pencil sharpeners had looked like pencil sharpeners—your basic Victorian mechanism, perhaps with a curlicue of decorative trim. After the advent of the designers, some pencil sharpeners looked as though they’d been put together in wind tunnels. For the most part, the change was only skin-deep; under the streamlined chrome shell, you’d find the same Victorian mechanism. Which made a certain kind of sense, because the most successful American designers had been recruited from the ranks of Broadway theater designers. It was all a stage set, a series of elaborate props for playing at living in the future.”

    –From “The Gernsback Continuum” by William Gibson

  9. galessa says: July 25, 200812:42 pm

    The commercial success of the streamlined redesign of many consumer goods in the 1930s points out important aspects of the relationship of design and the market. Although the inner works of this sharpener could be very similar to the victorian ones (but seldom the same), the ones that would get the preference of the public then were the streamlined ones, simply cause they were echoing the aspirations of the consumer of living in an idealized present, away from many restrictions of victorian times and the hard times of the early 30s.
    Besides, some designs represented REAL betterments over designs of the period. As an example, one can consider the refrigerator designs of the early 30s and the groundbreaking, trendsetting design of the Coldspot by Lowey, a better design in all aspects one could consider; from symbolic to strictly functional ones. To consider Streamlining as surface design only is a very superficial approach.

  10. Charlene says: July 25, 20082:42 pm

    Streamlining has a functional benefit: smooth surfaces are easier to keep clean than intricate designs.

    It’s not surprising that the Victorian and Edwardian ages were times of great detail in art, architecture, and interior design. If you could afford beautiful items in those days, you could also afford a maid to keep them clean. The streamlining of Art Deco and Retro occurred at the same time that the middle classes started doing their own housework, and I don’t think that’s a complete coincidence.

  11. Mike says: July 25, 20086:41 pm
  12. docca says: July 27, 200810:57 am

    “How is it sorely lacking today? I sharpens pencils, and it looks beautiful — what more can it do?”

    You bet if it was produced in China it would have some “extra functions”, like a flashlight, a card reader or a bottle opener :)

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