Friday, January 30, 2009

Lumitime CC-33 clock | Jiro Ochiai and Tatsuhiko Machida | Tamura Electric Corp., Japan | 1971

Lumitime clockJiro Ochiai and Tatsuhiko Machida
Tamura Electric Corp., Japan, 1971

Lumitime logoThe Lumitime family of clocks. Classic styling. Glowy coolness. I bought one as new old stock. Since I haven’t seen some of what I have posted elsewhere, I figured I’d share it here. I’ve got the box and all the literature and labels that came with it. Nothing about who was responsible for the design. Not even a copyright date. Well, it’s got as much look as the day is long and that’s enough for me.

There are a lot of different Lumitime models. Different colors: ivory, orange, red, black; alarm or no alarm; radio or no radio. But for this entry, I’m thinking mostly about the CC-33, it’s the one I think has the most bang. There are a lot of different models of this clock out there, for example, the C31 to the right is more or less the same as the CC-33 only without the alarm and with the time set knob on the back. Although they can discolor with time and UV exposure, ivory clocks do not suffer as much because they are already off-white. Lumitime clock, front Lumitime clock, back Image Source, eBay

Note: broken video link fixed 01/28/11.  Here is my Lumitime clock. It does make some noise as it runs, especially at hour changes. Remember that it is a mechanical clock that simulates LEDs so some noise is natural. It’s difficult to tell from the movie but across the bottom from left to right, there are four knobs: the first two turn wheels that allow the setting of the alarm, hours on the left and minutes on the right, the third is an alarm on/off switch, and the fourth is the time set. The buzzer is not too jarring, definitely a workable alarm.

Lumitime patent

The first page of the United States “Clock or Similar Article” design, number 230,302. The rest of the patent can be found here. Some related design patents to other Lumitime clocks in the same family can be found at D238,253 (1974), D244,261 (1975), and D245,198 (1974).

Orange Lumitime clockImage source. There is another example of Lumitime models on the Spaceage70 blog. Check out this blog entry for several Lumitime models as well.

Lumitime clock Tough to photograph and get the numbers bright, but here it is! The label on the base is shown below.

Lumitime CC-33 label

Lumitime advertisement

Lumitime advertisement, New York Magazine, October, 1973, p. 87. I have seen the “script bar” model. It is like the normal bar only all frilly. I don’t like it as much. Not nearly as clean looking but more uncommon. Cant believe it cost $2 more.

Lumitime advertisement

Newspaper advertisement, Nov 25, 1976. Link goes to entire ad. A slightly different variety than the CC-33, this has the snooze bar on top and no pedestal base.

The box certainly has a 70s flair:

Lumitime box front


Lumitime box side         Lumitime box side


Here is all the good stuff that came inside the box. First, the instruction card, below, followed by the warranty card. For each, the front is on the left, the back is on the right. Click for a larger image.

Lumitime operating instructions

Lumitime warranty cardThese come up from time to time on eBay and can go for as much as $100. They are uncommonly found in good condition. Hold out for one that works well and keeps time well.

The Lumitime is definitely one of my favorite clock designs! If you have any further information you can share, please be sure to pass it along!

Share |

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Word clock (2563) | Muller and van Dongen | NeXtime, the Netherlands | 1982

Muller and van Dongen Word ClockHans Muller and Hans van Dongen
NeXtime, the Netherlands, 1982

Work Clock The Word Clock model 2563 by Muller and van Dongen.

There are two word clocks designed by Muller and van Dongen. They’re sold by NeXtime. One is model 2562 and is 60 cm in length. Languages offered include Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, and Italian. The other is model 2563 and is 83 cm in length. Languages offered include Dutch, English, German, Greek. I also recall seeing this model in Arabic. I like the 2563. It is available only in white.

Word Clock

The Word Clock model 2562 by Muller and van Dongen.

Muller and van Dongen applied for a patent in the United States for their “Elongated Clock” in 1982 and the patent was granted in 1984. The clock consists of two adjacent rolls. The right roll contains the numbers one to twelve, spelled out. The gearing is such that as the minutes turn to “twenty-five minutes to,” the hour roll advances. The left roll spells out five minute increments of time:













The two rolls are contained in a clear acrylic tube that has a sticker placed strategically over the seam between the two rolls. A red mark on this sticker indicates the line that should be read to tell the time. Two curved, right angle end caps allow the clock to be placed on a flat surface. I think the most joyous aspect of the word clock lies in the fact that it’s “fuzzy” and not nearly so cold as one that is digital. No numbers, no hands, it tells the time in words, the same way you might expect someone with a pocket watch to answer the question, “Do you have the time?”

Word Clock patentThe first page of the United States “Elongated Clock” patent, number 4,423,965. The rest of the patent can be found here.

Word Clock

Above is the clock drive, made in Germany. The clock is easy to set. There is one knob to turn. It takes one N-cell battery. You may flip out and wonder where to get such a crazy battery - I did. But be calm, the N-cell is commonly used in small electronics like cameras, flash units, and bike lights. Camera stores usually have them in stock. They’ll set you back $1.50 to $2 each. N Cell

Word ClockImprint on hour roll. Reads:


Word Clock imprintImprint on plastic end caps. There are two identical caps. Holes in these end caps allow the clock to be wall mounted horizontally or vertically if desired.

One just sold on eBay for $93 so that will give you an idea of the price you can expect to pay. It used to be available new from Dutch sellers (like Questo Design) in the $250 range. I can’t find either version of this clock new anymore.


NeXtime, (2005, Autumn). NeXtime magazine, Autumn 2005. Retrieved January 25, 2009, from NeXtime Web site: http://www.nextime-clocks.nl/downloads/nextime_magazine_autumn_2005.pdf

Share |

Monday, January 26, 2009

Spyros ashtray | Eleonore Peduzzi Riva | Artemide, Italy | 1969

Eleonore Peduzzi Riva SpyrosEleonore Peduzzi Riva
Artemide, Italy, 1969

Spyros ashtray My Spyros :)

Eleonore Peduzzi Riva was born in 1939. With Ueli Berger, Heinz Ulrich, and Klaus Vogt she designed the DS-600 sofa. She developed an objet d’arte of stunning form with the Spyros ashtray created for Artemide in 1969. It is as beautiful as the former as the latter. It is less often called Spiros, even though this is how the label on the underside of the object reads. The box the Spyros comes in reads “Spyros.” Two different boxes are shown below.

Spyros box

Image source. This Spyros (white with black ball and original packaging at €180 = $230) and other items are for sale at the eBay store of ODCOLLECTION. Thanks for the pic!

Spyros ashtray and box Image source. This one is for sale, by the way for $295.

Eleonore Peduzzi Riva also designed the Vacuna lamp for Artemide in 1969. To see what else Artemide was up to in the 1960s and early 1970s, check out this exhibit. She also designed the Molla lamp for Candle in 1971. She was an artist and designer at Vistosi during the 1970's. In 1972 she exhibited at the XXXVI Venice Biennale.

The Spyros is a melamine plastic form, 21.5 by 21.5 cm on a side and 3.5 cm tall. It consists of a spiral, hence the name, that a ball is free to roll down to the center of the square. Little feet protect what you set it on. The bottom side of the Spyros is shown below.

Spyros ashtray underside Underside of the Spyros ashtray.

Designmatcher describes the Spyros by saying…

In many ways the Spyros is not the most functional of the ashtrays. However it captures the mood of the late '60s. This design allows the consumer to purchase a smoking accessory that looks nothing like a traditional ashtray, with no indentations to hold cigarettes. In fact, the beauty of this design is its enigmatic appearance; is it a sculpture, a desk accessory, or an ashtray? The Spryos is all of these things, and its success lies in this engagement of the user.

The Spyros was produced in five colors: white, yellow, orange, olive green, and black. The standard ball is black and approximately 6.5 cm in diameter. But often a ball of contrasting color to the base is present. I’ve seen an orange ball (was this issued by Artemide?! because orange plastic rocks), a white ball, and some that are impressed with advertising logos.

Spyros ball Image source

A well received favorite and and probably also the most sought after ashtray by collectors, the Spyros is a rare item. I’ve been outbid numerous times on eBay for them. Prices are generally in the $200 to 300 range for good condition items with ball.

Note: broken video link fixed 1/30/11. Cue the round of applause. You let the ball go and it's all a little clumsy at the end but entertaining nonetheless. Seldom do you get to participate in plastic design. This just so happens to be one of the times you can. It would have been more impressive me bashing out a cigarette with the ball but if you think I’m ruining my Spyros you’ve got another thing coming.

Spyros promotion

Spyros promotion Spyros promotion

Above: The Spyros featured prominently in Artemide literature of the time.

Below: Spyros imprint.  Orange, image source eBay user dedalo1972.

Spyros imprint, black

Spyros imprint, orange

Selected Bibliography

Philippe Decelle & Diane Hennebert & Pierre Loze, L'Utopie Du Tout Plastique 1960 - 1973, Edition Fondation pour l'architecture, 1994, p.50.


Vercelloni, I. T. (1999). The sixties: Rediscovered design. Farmingdale, NY: Artemide.

Share |

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Nesso table/wall lamp | Giancarlo Mattioli, Gruppo Architetti Urbanisti Città Nuova | Artemide, Italy | 1967

Giancarlo Mattioli Nesso lampGiancarlo Mattioli
Gruppo Architetti Urbanisti Città Nuova
Artemide, Italy, 1967

Fitting that I’m going to put the Nesso lamp first. It’s the first modern plastic piece that caught my eye and was the first I just “had to have.” It has a gorgeous mushroom form that is as stunning lit as not. The lamp is part of the Artemide “Modern Classic” line and lists for $441. The cheapest I was able to find a new lamp was $301. They typically sell on eBay in the $250-300 range , but keep in mind this may be for early examples. Here is the Nesso listing direct from the Artemide online store.

Nesso lamp Here is my Nesso, sitting in front of “Cubicus” (Peer Clahsen for Naef Toys, Switzerland, 1968) in red.

Nesso promotionAssorted publicity photos (Artemide)

Nesso promotion Artemide catalog featuring the Nesso

Nesso in white and orangeThe Nesso lamp, orange and white

Gruppo Architetti Urbanisti Città Nuova was formed in the 1960s by Pierluigi Cervellati, Umberto Maccaferri, Giancarlo Mattioli, Franco Morelli, Gianpaolo Mazzucato, and Mario Zaffagnini.

The table standing or wall mounted lamp features a body and diffuser in white or orange ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) thermoplastic injection molded into chromed molds. It uses four 25W (max) candelabra base incandescent bulbs (E12/G16 or B10 white) to achieve diffused and direct light. Early examples of the lamp are made of fiberglass-reinforced polyester resin and fitted with a small dimmer.  Newer productions feature a cord with an integrated switch.

Nesso schematicSchematic drawing of the Nesso lamp

Nesso cord and switchSwitch on New Model

Nesso underside Nesso underside

The 2002-03 Artemide Quick Reference Catalog states that, “In 1999, coinciding with its fortieth birthday, Artemide revisited and proposed eighteen of its first luminaries from the sixties and seventies, and placed them back into production, following the original handcrafted manufacturing processes...The collection was to have a limited period of production but, because of the great success and continuing demand, nine of the eighteen models will continue to be offered.”  These are Eclisse, Alfa, Polluce, Aminta, Omega, Boalum, Mezzachimera, Fato, and Nesso.  The 18 modern classics chosen by Artemide were desgined between 1959 (Alfa) and 1975 (Patroclo).

The lamp is a result of a competition staged by Artemide and Editrice Domus, where it took 1° Premio Concorso, 1965 Milan (Italy). It is featured in the Twentieth Century Design Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (USA), the Design Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York (USA), permanent exhibit at the Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO (USA), represented in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem (Israel), permanent exhibit at Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Montréal, Montréal (Canada), Museo Permanente del Design Italiano 1945-1990, Triennale di Milano, Milan (Italy). Here it is at MoMA. It is also Daniel Meade’s desk lamp on Ugly Betty.

In 2003, Mattioli created a smaller version of the Nesso, called Nessino.  It is made of molded, transparent polycarbonate in translucent blue, orange, grey, red and yellow. The lamp has a clear cord with a clear dimmer switch incorporated onto the cord.  It is much smaller than Nesso at a height of 22.3 cm and a diameter of 32 cm.

Nessino lamp The Nessino lamp in five colors

Selected Bibliography

L'Utopie Du Tout Plastique 1960 - 1973, p. 52                                   1000 Lights 1960 to present, p. 120


Artemide, (2002-2003). Artemide Quick reference catalog. Farmingdale, NY: Artemide.

Artemide, (2008-09). Artemide Catalogue 2008-2009. Retrieved January 17, 2009, from Artemide Web site: http://engine.artemide.com/pdfdrake/cataloghi.asp?catCode=cat438125&localizzazione=2

Lacey, S. (2006). Out of this world. The Sydney Morning Herald, Retrieved January 17, 2009, from http://www.smh.com.au/news/house--home/out-of-this-world/2006/11/01/1162278151979.html 

Vercelloni, I. T. (1999). The sixties: Rediscovered design. Farmingdale, NY: Artemide.

Share |

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pago Pago vase (3087 vase) | Enzo Mari | Danese, Italy | 1969

Enzo Mari Pago PagoEnzo Mari
Danese, Italy, 1969

Pago Pago vase The Pago Pago vase.

For some reason, there seem to be three types of object I like above all others: vases, lamps, and clocks. For this entry, a vase. The Pago Pago vase by Enzo Mari captures both beauty and versatility. It has always reminded me of the tail fin and tail light of a car from the 1950s. It’s also nice that it is available in a wide variety of colors. Apparently, these colors were specifically chosen to match and enhance flowers that would be placed in the vase. Enzo Mari is another of my favorite designers so you will be seeing more of his objects on this blog. A brief excerpt of Mari’s biography from Hida is telling:

Enzo Mari was born in Novara, Italy in 1932. As a young man, Mari studied classics and literature at the Academia di Brera in Milan. Mari started working in the industrial field in the 1950s and opened a studio in Milan to continue his studies in the psychology of vision, systems of perception and design methodologies. At that time, he found himself forced to earn a living. Traveling via bike one day, because he could not afford a taxi, he delivered his metal “Putrella” material to the Italian manufacturing company, Danese. This initial meeting would be the beginning of a long-standing relationship between the manufacturer and Mari and from there they begin collaborating, eventually mass-manufacturing various products…Today 29 of Mari’s pieces are permanent fixture in MoMA’s collection.

Mari participated at the exhibition “Italy: the New Domestic Landscape” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He served as president of the Associazione per il Disegno Industriale (ADI) from 1976-1979. He has four times received the the “Compasso d'Oro” prize, in 1967 (independent design research), 1979 (Delfina chair for Driade), 1987 (Tonietta chair for Zanotta) and in 2001 (Legato Table for Driade).

By the way, here is a resource if you are interested in past winners of the Compasso d’Oro, a list of the winners and juries (with lots of pictures) to 1990.

I wish I had kept track of all the colors I’ve seen the original Pago Pago edition in. I am aware of: white, yellow, orange, green, and deep violet. Of course, if you know of more, tell me or send a pic! The vases can be quite expensive, with good condition items ranging from $150 to $250. Retromodern.com has an original edition yellow right now at $245 as well as a bunch of other items you should check out. The picture of that one is to the right. I’ve seen the orange one sell for $600 on eBay, the only one I’ve ever seen there. Pago Pago vase

Orange and yellow Pago Pago vasesImage source, Orange and Yellow Pago Pago

White Pago Pago vaseGreen Pago Pago vaseDeep violet Pago Pago vase

Image source   Image source

Pago Pago US Patent

The first page of the United States “Container” patent, number 3,729,114. The rest of the patent can be found here.

The Pago Pago is made of ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) and is 30 cm tall with walls of thickness 3.5 mm. The vase is really two in one. It can be oriented wide side down (the resulting opening is 9.5 cm diameter) or wide side up (19.7 cm across at its widest for an opening of 19.1 cm) as shown above in orange and yellow. The imprint on the Danese edition of the vase can be seen by looking into the wide portion down to the base. The imprint reads, curved along the base:


Pago Pago imprint The Danese imprint on the Pago Pago vase.

Alessi reissued the Pago Pago vase in 1997. These can be distinguished from the Danese edition by the Alessi imprint. Unfortunately, I don’t have one of the reissues, so I can’t show the stamp but I will update this post if I find one. I’ve seen the Alessi issue in white, yellow, green, and black, though it may have been available in other colors too. I’ll work on a complete list.

Alessi Pago Pago reissues Alessi reissues, image from eBay.

I am very interested in any information that can be contributed to this entry to further my knowledge of this piece. I would especially appreciate a photograph of the original box (Danese and Alessi) and information about original cost.

Selected Bibliography

Paolo Antonelli, Fulvio Ferrari, Claudia Neumann, Dictionnaire du Design Italie, 1999, p.47.

Philippe Decelle, Diane Hennebert, Pierre Loze, L'Utopie Du Tout Plastique 1960 - 1973, 1994, p.62.


Davis, L. (2008). Enzo Mari Bio-FV. Retrieved January 20, 2009, from Hida Sangyo Web site: http://www.em-hida.jp/en/pdf/Enzo%20Mari%20Bio-FV.pd

Rawsthorne, A. (2008, November 28). Enzo Mari: A rebel with an obsession for form and beauty. Retrieved January 22, 2009, from Mindfood Web site: http://www.mindfood.com/at-enzo-mari-designer-outspoken-form-beauty-career.seo

Share |
Related Posts with Thumbnails