M Y C O L L E C T I O N — Buying a Rocketship to Saturn? Nope, behold a sales piece for a series of, drum roll please, gas ranges for your kitchen. Yes, this very mid-century futuristic rocketship, blasting our of the atmosphere on the way to the planet Saturn in the background, is the cover for a promotional piece for Suburban Hardwick gas ovens. The piece folds out to 8 sheets this size, with the cover cleverly folding over the inner 7 to "lock" them in place. I believe this came with my grandmother's stove, one of the ones pictured inside is exactly the same as the one in her kitchen when I was growing up. By the way, the ovens pictured inside were absolutely normal in design and appearance. This rocketship theme extended only so far as the cover, and a few strategically placed pale blue stars superimposed over each oven's description.
I'm a HUGE fan of Mid-Century Modern, the term for industrial design/architecture/furniture produced from the late Thirties through the the mid Sixties. This cover design, which I believe was produced in 1957, is an excellent example. It pointed to an optimistic future, one that had nowhere to go but up. The collective feeling was one of exhuberance, especially after the Second World War. We were racing to space. we were never going to fight another war, we were moving to the suburbs, enjoying the good life after years of going without. Designers of all sorts had free rein to create "far out" products and merchandizing pieces. The late Fifties fabulous finned wonders from Detroit were perfect examples. I think we could use a bit of this group-think optimism in this world today.
• For a bit of humor, here's the opening theme to the Jetsons, with a bit of a twist thanks to Seth McFarlane of Family Guy.
• For a trip down Memory Lane, this 10-minute clip of The Honeymooners.