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Charles Harrison wins the Lifetime Achievement Award


Charles Harrison wins the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum Lifetime Achievement Award for his long-term contribution to contemporary design practice.

Charles Harrison, an industrial designer at Sears, Roebuck & Company for more than three decades, improved the quality of life of millions of Americans through the extraordinary breadth and innovation of his product designs. One of the first African Americans to enter the design field, Harrison began working for Sears in 1961 and eventually became the company’s Chief Designer. During his distinguished career, Harrison maintained an unwavering commitment to the needs of the average consumer, creating an astonishing 750 products—from radios and sewing machines to hair dryers—for nearly every area of the home. Among his most iconic designs are the first-of-its-kind plastic garbage can, a lighter, more durable alternative to its metal counterpart; and a redesign of the now classic View-Master. Harrison currently teaches design at Columbia College in Chicago.


View-Master - 1958 

Manufacturer: Sawyer Manufacturing, Portland, OR

Design Firm: Robert Podall Associates, Chicago, IL.

(photo: Joeffrey Trimmingham)


Garbage Can - 1963 

Manufacturer: GaTX, Michigan City, IN. 

Designed for Sears Roebuck & Company, Chicago, IL.

(photo: Charles Harrison)


Compact Sewing Machine and Carrying Case - 1978 

Charles Harrison (USA), Ted Nishigami (Japan) and Kenneth Grange (UK) 

Manufactured for Sears Roebuck & Company in Japan by Maruzen Sewing Machine Company


Hard Bonnet Tabletop Hair Dryer (before and after) - 1977 

Sears Roebuck & Company 

(photo: Charles Harrison)


His book "A Life’s Design: The Life and Work of Industrial Designer Charles Harrison" tells the hidden story behind some of America’s most iconic housewares.

tags: accessories, awards, toys
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One comment so far:
Sewing Fanatic's Gravatar Sewing Fanatic, on November 10:

I was looking for sewing machines and found this blog but I just had to comment. I totally remember playing with those little viewfinders as a kid. It's fun to see the person who designed them.

Rug Store NE
Desi Andrews, on March 28:
"It's interesting how we can look at nature to come up with ideas for great technological advancement..."

Krish, on March 25:
"Yes, agree with Mr. Wright"

SDR, on March 12:
"Only now, 75 years after Mr Wright proposed the Broadacres (literal) model of the future, can we ser..."

Jade, on March 10:
"Yes. I am beyond being in agreement with Mr. Wright--this is the future, dismantling suburbs for sel..."

Them Le, on March 1:
"Amazing product for customer"

Natacha Watson, on January 20:
"I personaly prefer gold vases :p"

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