Object Timeline

1934

  • Work on this object began.

1939

  • Work on this object ended.

2017

2020

  • You found it!

Drawing, Design for a Bus, 1934–39

This is a Drawing. It was attributed to John Chilka and from the office of General Motors and made for (as the client) J. L. Hudson Department Store. It is dated 1934–39 and we acquired it in 2017. Its medium is graphite on paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

J.L. Hudson Department Store in Detroit, Michigan was the largest department store in the area and only second in size throughout the United States to Macy’s in New York. Opened in 1911, the store incorporated numerous additions that eventually made it the tallest department store in the world at 410 feet. These two line drawings attributed to John Chilka present designs for buses or trucks likely intended for J. L. Hudson deliveries or merchandising. Both designs offer different approaches to streamlined styling popular in the 1930s. The drawing on yellow ground depicts a taller, shorter vehicle with ample storage height throughout. The second example on white ground features a more sharply curved body with narrower compartments at the vehicle’s front and rear. This second style was less commonly seen in commercial vehicles of the era as its form did not maximize usable storage space.

This object was donated by Alexandra Herzan and Paul Herzan. It is credited Gift of Alexandra and Paul Herzan.

Its dimensions are

Frame H x W x D (approx.): 39.4 × 61 × 3.2 cm (15 1/2 in. × 24 in. × 1 1/4 in.)

Cite this object as

Drawing, Design for a Bus, 1934–39; Attributed to John Chilka (American, b. Czech Republic, 1912 - 1987); graphite on paper; Frame H x W x D (approx.): 39.4 × 61 × 3.2 cm (15 1/2 in. × 24 in. × 1 1/4 in.); Gift of Alexandra and Paul Herzan; 2017-39-11

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108951109/ |title=Drawing, Design for a Bus, 1934–39 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=22 September 2020 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>