Russel Wright - Product Type - Details

Russel Wright

Russel Wright

Russel Wright (April 3, 1904 – December 21, 1976)[1] was an American Industrial designer during the 20th century. Beginning in the late 1920s through the 1960s, Russel Wright created a succession of artistically distinctive and commercially successful items that helped bring modern design to the general public.

Wright is best known for his colorful American Modern, the most widely sold American ceramic dinnerware in history, manufactured between 1939 and 1959 by Steubenville Pottery in Steubenville, Ohio. He also designed top selling wooden furniture, spun aluminum dining accessories and textiles. His simple, practical style was influential in persuading ordinary Americans to embrace Modernism in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Wright's trademarked signature was the first to be identified with lifestyle-marketed products, paving the way for personality-driven lifestyle empires such as Martha Stewart, Ralph Lauren and others.

Wright designed several popular lines of Melmac melamine resin plastic dinnerware for the home and did early research on plastic Melmac dinnerware for restaurant use. Wright's first Melmac line of plastic dinnerware for the home, called "Residential" was manufactured by Northern Plastic Company of Boston, MA beginning in 1953. "Residential" received the Museum of Modern Art Good Design Award in 1953. Also "Residential" was one of the most popular Melmac lines with gross sales of over $4 million in 1957. The line remained popular for many years continuing in production by Home Decorators, Inc. of Newark, NY. Wright introduced his Melmac dinnerware line called "Flair" in 1959. One of the patterns of "Flair", called "Ming Lace" has the actual leaves of the Chinese jade orchid tree tinted and embedded inside the translucent plastic. As with his ceramic dinnerware, Wright began designing his Melmac only in solid colors, but by the end of the 1950s created several patterns ornamented with decoration, usually depicting plant forms.

Wright designed a succession of popular furniture lines for many furniture companies beginning in the early 1930s through the 1950s. His most popular line of essentially Art Deco American Modern "blonde" wooden furniture was produced by the Conant-Ball company of Gardner, Massachusetts between 1935 and 1939, and bore the branded mark "American Modern Built by Conant-Ball Co. Designed by Russel Wright". Wright also worked with the Old Hickory Furniture Company in Martinsville, Indiana on unique rustic furniture with Wright's modern stylings. The collection was introduced in 1942 and some of the designs stayed popular through the 1950s.