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Do you remember your mother or grandmother having those hard plastic plates and dinnerware in their home when you were kid? Chances are they were designed by Russel Wright. Did your parents or grandparents own a blond wood colored bedroom set in their home? Chances are it was designed by Russel Wright. You see Mr. Wright was to the mid-20th Century, what Martha Stewart is to us today. Not only was he a brilliant designer but he was an even more brilliant marketing guru who knew what the masses wanted. And what the masses wanted was inexpensive dinnerware, furniture, appliances and much more.
Russel Wright was born in April 3, 1904 and briefly attended Princeton University and later Columbia University. His career began as a stage designer and later in the 1930ís he started a business designing aluminum cocktail shakers and other accessories for the home that included flatware, mugs and lamps. His designing career took off in the mid-30s and he started designing bleach blond furniture for Heywood-Wakefield and the Conant Ball Company in Massachusetts. The late 30ís and early 40s saw the design of ceramic dinnerware made by Steubenville Pottery, the hard plastic Melmac dinnerware was not a hit until the mid-50ís and 60ís.
However Mr. Wright did not just design things and had them produced by the best manufacturers, much like Martha Stewart and others today, he had the presence of mind to market them and sell them through some of the better stores. His Art Deco furniture designs, called Modern Living, produced by Heywood-Wakefield were sold by Macyís. His furniture designs, called American Modern, produced by Conant Ball were sold by Bloomingdales. By the late 40ís he had sold more than 80 million pieces of his dinnerware and Russel Wright was a household name. So as you can see, chances are that some of his designs made it into either you parentsí or grandparentsí home.