Today I'm featuring Russel Wright (1904-1976), an American industrial designer and 20th century household name. As the creator of the most widely sold American ceramic dishware in history (his American Modern dinnerware line, above at bottom, manufactured by Steubenville Pottery of Steubenville, OH, sold over 250 million pieces between 1939 to 1959!!), he was, according to the New York Times, "Martha Stewart before she was." Working with wood, spun aluminum, stainless steel, paper, plastic, and ceramics, Wright designed modern furniture, dining accessories, and textiles for easy and casual living, and along with his wife/merchandising genius Mary, revolutionized the way Americans lived.
In addition to his American Modern line, Wright designed the "Residential" line of melamine plastic dinnerware (above, at right), manufactured by the Northern Plastic Company of Boston, Mass. It was the first and most popular line of melamine resin plastic dinnerware, better known as "melmac," and received the Good Design Award from the Museum of Modern Art in 1953. Wright also created the "Casual" line of china (above, at left) for the Iroquois China Company of Syracuse, NY, which was more durable than American Modern. Recently many of his designs have been reissued by Oneida. Read more about this modern American master here, here, and here.
Here are several pieces, available on etsy and ebay, designed by Russel Wright.
Top row (L to R):
- nesting salt and pepper shakers (Casual China, Iroquois), $25 from etsy seller Lavender RickRack
- 24 piece dining set (American Modern, Steubenville), $150 from etsy seller RetroCycle
- brown bowl and 3 plates (Casual China), currently $3.99 from ebay seller lottiesattic
- 60 piece dining set (Queen Anne's Lace pattern, Knowles China), currently $49.99 from ebay seller acidstamp
- bread plate (American Modern), $6 from etsy seller Uncommon Eye
- creamer (Casual China), currently $5 from ebay seller 1maus
- pitcher, buy it now for $32.59 from ebay store The Alabama Pedlar
- 4 cups and saucers (Casual China), $25 from etsy seller Lavender RickRack
- nesting cream and sugar set, $6 from etsy shop Beatgrrrl's Basement