2011 44¢ Pioneers of American Industrial Design –
Walter Dorwin Teague
Issue Date: June 29, 2011
City: New York, NY
Printed By: Avery Dennison
Printing Method: Photogravure
America’s love affair with photography got its first big boost in the 1920s, when Kodak introduced a series of portable and inexpensive cameras. Designer Walter Dorwin Teague (1883-1960) added flair that made cameras both fashionable as well as affordable.
Kodak cameras were given an Art Deco design by Teague and made in colors with lively names – Cockatoo, Bluebird, Redbreast, Jenny Wren, and more. The best-known camera, called the “Beau Brownie,” had an enamel faceplate and a “leather look” finish that added to its appeal.
Teague’s projects ranged beyond photography and into car design, pianos, and other fields. He and his son (Walter, Jr.) designed cars for Marmon, the company that had won the first Indianapolis 500 race in 1911. Teague also worked with Steinway designing concert grand pianos, including the “Peace Piano” featured at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. It is now on display at the Smithsonian Institution.
Teague’s prominence as an industrial designer was shown in 1944, when he became the first president of the Society of Industrial Design. He was further recognized in 1951 as an honorary Royal Designer for Industry in Great Britain. These accomplishments have led many to call Teague the “dean of Industrial Design.”