What is this?
Black rectangular plastic body with sloping top; circular clear plastic dial in center, surrounded by white numbers 1 to 0, the letters A to Y, and the word "OPERATOR", all arranged in a circle around the dial, their positions corresponding to fingerholes in dial. Barbell-shaped handset of black plastic sits in cradle on top of body; coiled black wire at one end of handset plugs into telephone body.
Why is this in our collection?
The model 500 telephone was designed by American industrial designer, Henry Dreyfuss. Dreyfuss was among the first generation of American industrial design professionals. His career spanned nearly five decades and his designs ranged from the Big Ben alarm clock and Hoover vacuum cleaners to locomotives and airline interiors. What set Dreyfuss apart from many of his contemporaries was his interest in and contribution to the fields of ergonomics and anthropometrics (the study of human body measurements). His book, The Measure of Man (1960), featured two fictitious characters, Joe and Josephine, who represented the average-sized man and woman. The book contained detailed measurements of the human body on which... more