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Thread: RIP Irving Harper

  1. #1
    Dive Watches & Japanese Moderator OTGabe's Avatar
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    Oct 2014
    North Carolina, USA

    RIP Irving Harper

    I am not a graphic or industrial designer, far from it actually. But I have always had an appreciation for the field and those who work in it. Today design legend and one of the founders of American moderism, Irving Harper, passed away at age 99. While working for George Nelson, he was given the job of producing trade advertising for the Herman Miller furniture company. Though never trained as a graphic artist, he designed a new logo for the company for free, and it has since become an icon of simplicity and modern design:

    He also designed the Marshmallow Sofa, which is about as mid-century modern as you can get. Originals from the late 50s and early 60s fetch $20K or more at auction:

    But Irving's design that is most appealing to me, for obvious reasons, is the Ball Clock. I have a replica that is currently in a closet awaiting repair, and I'm now motivated to pull it out and get it taken care of. Knockoffs are widely available, but the original licensed version can still be purchased for around $400.

    Though the Ball Clock is the most well-known, Nelson designed many other fun clocks that can be seen and purchased here:

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  3. #2
    Higher Entity Jeannie's Avatar
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    Oct 2014
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    My Amazon wish list just grew.

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  5. #3
    Porous Membrane skywatch's Avatar
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    The Valley of Heart's Delight
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    Great post - thanks for that interesting background. I just went over to Google Images to find more designs from Irving Harper, and I see quite a few posts that fail to distinguish George Nelson's name from Irving Harper's design. I was curious to learn who else was designing modernist clocks besides Max Bill. The nature of commercial design often makes it hard to distinguish the designer from the brand. Cool stuff!
    Too many watches, not enough wrists.

  6. #4
    The Dude Abides Nokie's Avatar
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    Nov 2014
    Northern CA
    I would take one of those ball clocks anytime. Very cool. RIP.
    "Either He's Dead, Or My Watch Has Stopped....."
    Groucho Marx

  7. #5
    Member Teeritz's Avatar
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    Nov 2014
    Melb, AUS
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    I marvel at how the works of some designers can transcend the decades to become classics. Beautiful pieces!


    (IWL Member No. 72)
    My other distractions --->

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