- Museum number
Cocktail shaker; chromium-plated stainless steel, stamped with vertical ridges; inside a removable liner.
- Production date
- 1934 (designed and made)
Height: 33.30 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Text from J. Rudoe, 'Decorative Arts 1850-1950. A catalogue of the British Museum collection'. 2nd ed. no.113.
Geddes worked as an advertising artist, stage designer and window designer before setting up his own industrial design firm in 1927. By the early 1930s he had developed streamlined designs for trains, cars, aeroplanes and a wide range of industrial products, including a few small-scale household items such as cocktail shakers and soda siphons.
An advertisement for three new cocktail shakers made by the Revere Company published in Arts & Decoration 43, March 1935. 45- includes this shaker at a cost of $4 and provides evidence that the shaker was in production by early 1935. It was made with matching chrome glasses and tray (see Brooklyn 1986, The Brooklyn Museum, 'The Machine Age in America'. 329, pl. 8.84). See also Bush, D.J., The Streamlined Decade', New York 1975, pl. 133.
The Norman Bel Geddes Collection at the University of Texas contains detailed archive material relating to Bel Geddes's giftware line for Revere. Firstly there are nine alternative designs for cocktail shakers represented in a total of twenty-one drawings, of which nos 102.1 and 102.3 bear a strong visual resemblance to the British Museum shaker. Both drawings are marked with origin dates and revision dates in 1934. All the drawings are signed and initialled by different employees in the Bel Geddes studio, many of whom are identified, but the initials 'C.B.' on the drawings relating to the shaker in question remain at present unidentified. Surviving patent information confirms that a number of items in the range went into production in !935, while 1935 Revere catalogues feature several other items in the line, though not this shaker. (The above information is derived from the Bel Geddes job file #290, identified as Revere Copper and Brass, in the Norman Bel Geddes Collection, Theater Arts Library, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin, by permission of Edith Lutyens Bel Geddes, executrix. The information was supplied by Melissa Miller-Quinlan, who kindly checked the file on my behalf.)
It is interesting to note that a silver cocktail shaker of similar shape, with vertical fluted pattern, was designed by Kay Fisker for the firm of Michelsen in Copenhagen, at about the same time.
For another example of Geddes's streamlining on a small scale, see his 1933 medal for the twenty-fifth anniversary of General Motors (illustrated in Collins, M., 'Towards Post-Modernism: Design since 1851', London 1987, 74, fig. 77; Department of Coins and Medals 1934, 6-2,1).
- On display (G48/dc6)
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number