Saturday, February 27, 2010

63526 letter rack and 63527 magazine rack | Walter Zeischegg | Helit, Germany | 1973

Walter ZeischeggWalter Zeischegg
63526 letter rack and 63527 magazine rack
Helit, Germany, 1973

Walter Zeischegg was born in Vienna, Austria on February 5, 1917.  In 1921, the Zeischegg family moved to Graz.  Walter studied in Graz from 1932 to 1936 and then began his study of sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. He served in World War II until 1946 and then continued his studies with master sculptor Fritz Wotruba.

During his studies, Zeischegg acted as a freelance designer and worked on the design of tool handles, surgical instruments and equipment. On a trip through Switzerland, he met Max Bill.  In 1950, Zeischegg set aside his artistic work in devotion to design. Between 1951 and 1953, Zeischegg worked in the construction office of the future Ulm School of Design.  In 1953 he became a lecturer in the department of product form at the “Hochschule für Gestaltung” (Design College) in Ulm. In 1968 the college was closed. An archival history of the school can be found here.

Ulm Design College philosophy Hochschule für Gestaltung curriculum (1951).  Image source.

Following his lecturer position at HfG, Zeischegg founded a design studio in New Ulm. He mainly worked for the company Helit.  To 1983, more than 70 design-oriented products were developed by Walter Zeischegg for Helit.

Helit logo

In addition to industrial jobs, Zeischegg devoted his attention to the study of geometric forms, which is apparent in many of his designs. Walter Zeischegg died on December 20, 1983 in Ulm.

Helit 2009 catalogThe Helit 2009 catalog.

The company name “Helit” was created by combining the founder's name “hefendehl” and “bakelit” - the name of the plastic used for production in the 1920s. Their catalog contains  lots of plastic items and design classics.  Helit’s design philosophy is

Good design is not only the visually attractive but what remains of it in one’s memory - he who wants to create design classics cannot follow today’s ever changing fashion fads, but he must create real trends himself.

The 63526 letter rack is a rectangular array of 24 prongs in a 4 by 6 configuration.  The rack is approximately 9.5 cm high by 14.5 long by 9 cm deep.

The 63527 magazine rack is a square array of 17 prongs arranged 3-4-3-4-3.  The rack is approximately 19 cm high by 24 cm long by 16 cm deep.

63527 US Patent

The first page of the United States “Magazine Rack” design patent, number D278,663 (1985). The patent was granted after Zeischegg’s death.  The rest of the patent can be found here.

63527 sketch, top view, from patent 63527 sketch, bottom view, from patent

Top and bottom plan views of the magazine rack as shown in the design patent.

63527 sketch, top view, from patent Top plan view of a similar holder (Fig. 4 in the design patent) except for the addition of a seven member holder.

Helit 63527 rack, red, with oriignal box Helit 63527 rack, red Left, red Helit rack with original box.  Right, red helit rack.  Image source:  brocnshop.  Item was for sale (now sold), 95 € ($ 129).

Helit 63527 rack, black, imprint                                              Image source,  eBay.

I have also seen the 63527 magazine rack in white, but I don’t have a picture.  That will have to wait for an update.

Helit 63526 rack, black

The 63526 letter rack.  Image source:  Markanto.  Item was for sale in Germany for 90 €($ 122.50).


Designlexicon International.  Retrieved February 15, 2010 from: http://www.designlexikon.net/Designer/Z/zeischeggwalter.html

HfG Archiv Ulm.  Retrieved February 15, 2010 from: http://www.hfg-archiv.ulm.de/die_hfg_ulm/

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