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Classic Designs of the 20th Century


Gardian

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Whilst driving the other day, I was gently musing to myself about the above and thought that it might make an interesting Forum discussion (it’ll probably ‘crash & burn’!

So ...... three ‘areas’ from me, with 3 nominations in each category (with my winner) + a booby prize.

Aviation

Sud Aviation Caravelle - addressed the market need for a European jet to supersede the props and looked great.

Hawker Hunter - again, looked great and was very successful commercially with nearly 2000 built.

Lockhead Constellation - that very long nose wheel & 3-finned tail.

Winner - the Hawker Hunter. Booby Prize - the Dassault Mercure (cost millions to develop & they only sold 10!)

Automotive

Ford Capri - a sensation when it hit the market. Everybody’s idea of the poor-man’s Mustang.

The Mini - my Mum & Dad wanted to buy one when it came out, but at £500 it was too much money!

DS19 - it was about 3 step changes from anything that Citroen or anybody else was producing at the time. A bit unreliable though, I think(?)

Winner - the DS19. Booby - the Ford Anglia 105E with that backward sloping rear window. Sold loads though.

Railways

The London Underground - from stations, to signage, to rolling stock. A lot of it still looks good now, 80 years on. Frank Pick was a genius who refused a knighthood & worked himself to death.

The Paris Metro - so different, yet with a design style which is immediately recognisable.

TGV double-decker - looks good & very functional.

Winner - by a country mile, The London Underground. Booby - the British HST, which has been very successful, but hardly catches the eye.

Any critiques of my suggestions? Any other categories - what about food packaging?

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ALBF ........

The Saab - hmmmmmm.

The Class 50 - absolutely! In my day, they were D400’s and were used (often double-headed) on Euston-Glasgow services. I regularly took the 4.00 pm ex Euston and the diesels took over at Preston where the electrification ended. Had dinner in the restaurant car.

The Avro Vulcan - wonderful things, but a mite dangerous for most of the crew?!

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Nah, love double deckers, upstairs and down. Great for being nosey about other people's lives!

Capri, rubbish; Mini, marvellous. Tube, well, system great but most stations crap. Just look at those on the Moscow line.

Comet was the most beautiful plane, and it taught all the others how to make them safe after its own failures. Loved the Conny; when I first flew to Kuwait, there was a fleet of them off the side of the airport, just been superceded by Boeings, so sad to see them abandoned., gathering dust.
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@ Gardian.

I grew up in rural Wiltshire on the Waterloo-Exeter line which were in my day serviced by the Class 50 and Class 33. You often saw double headers.

The Class 50 was so imposing on a single line track. It was beautiful to see it pass in very beautiful countryside. Especially 50007.

Second to the 50 would be the Class 37. For a while it was used on the West Scotland routes. We took the sleeper once from Euston to Fort William and the locomotive would change (can't remember where) from an electric (86/87) to a diesel. Often being the 37.

Proper trains and proper carriages.

The TGV does nothing for me.
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When you were seeing these locomotives, the Waterloo - Exeter line had been emasculated, mostly to single line. Sad, but understandable - however, some of it is being re-doubled now.

I think that there’s a slight risk that we may be diverging off-thread, so in an effort to resurrect some interest (and away from pianos and foodie things) ..........

How’s about food packaging?

Kellog’s Corn Flakes - you’d recognise the big box anywhere

Heinz Tomato Ketchup - again, in whatever format (original or the new squeezy bottles) you’d know it.

Coca Cola - of course, particularly in the old iconic bottle.

Are any of the ladies the romotest bit interested in this, or is it only recipes, dishwashers & pianos for them ?

?
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 If we are only talking about Designs here well here goes.

The two vehicles that I remember most are the Land Rover, probably a 1960's style............ and the one that I found astonishing, in fact, took my breath away was the first Range Rover.

Not a sports car fan.

Planes, well, too many war films as a kid, and the Hurricanes and Spitfires always looked like marvels to me.

And boats, well, for great beauty, I love the 1920's style Americas Cup yachts.

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My klepper folding kayak, as old as me, in original unrepaired condition and still river and seaworthy, inspired by the Inuit Kayak the Klepper design and construction is unchanged since 1906, a rib from a 1906 kayak will fit my kayak or even a brand new one which are sadly no longer made in the original German factory but in Poland, the original company finally ceasing trading but the product lives on, unchanged.

 

Its really the Inuit kayak that is the classic design.

 

To me a classic design is one that cannot be improved on, it could have been an evolution of previous designs and many manufacturers may try to "improve" or sex it up to create demand but they dont sell because the classic does the job best, think paper clips, pocket knives, cutlery, corkscrew, anything that you buy once and keep for life and cannot be persuaded to change.

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Agree with Idun re the Land Rover, still iconic, likewise the mini (but NOT) in its current renaissance.  Planes, sorry, no idea.  Trains, well I LIKE the TGV, but then I also like the old steam engines and the elegant carriages. 

Can't go wrong with classic Chanel either, if we move more to the feminine angle, and I still swear by my old Pyrex cooking basins, which stack inside each other, maybe not fashionable but will keep going much longer than any posh mixer etc.

 

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I was just thinking the other day how wonderful Pyrex is, that was after soaking my pyrex dish which had lots of gratin stuck to it, and after a few hours, just cleaned up beautifully, just by rubbing round with a cloth, the posher dish, needed an extra days soaking and a lot of hard work.

Two bad things about it. If dropped the endless shards when one has pets are horrific. And it can chip when stacked as it gets older. But in general, 'excellent'![:D]

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[quote user="Chancer"]

My klepper folding kayak, as old as me, in original unrepaired condition and still river and seaworthy, inspired by the Inuit Kayak the Klepper design and construction is unchanged since 1906, a rib from a 1906 kayak will fit my kayak or even a brand new one which are sadly no longer made in the original German factory but in Poland, the original company finally ceasing trading but the product lives on, unchanged.

Its really the Inuit kayak that is the classic design.

 [/quote]

You're right Chancer... the folding Klepper was a classic. The first kayak that I ever paddled (a friend's) and the one that ultimately introduced me to kayak racing.

Btw, I still have my racing K1... a Struer Hunter (circa 1968) a beautiful piece of molded wooden veneer weighing 20lbs (and 17 foot long).

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[quote user="Gardian"] Chancer’s idea though of what constutes great design is textbook IMO. [/quote]

 

Well I was a designer once [:$]

 

One of my proudest moments was returning to a company that I had contracted to 20 years before and digging out the general assembly drawing of a product that I had formerly designed and developed for them which they still manufacture albeit now in India, whilst I cant say it was on revision 1 any revisions were because of bought in component/supplier changes the detail design was and still is unchanged.

 

I cannot however claim that I created the original concept it was probably Da Vinci or the set designers of Star Trek or whatever.

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Unbelievable coincidence that I should be wondering about where my influence for the high security portal came from yesterday and today I see on satellite an episode of "Lost In Space" that was my favorite program as a child, that I have waited 50 years to enjoy again and I see what actually inspired me my design  20+ years later - the cylindrical glass cryogenic freezing portal on the Jupiter 2 spacecraft [I]

 

Todays nomination for a classic design, - Tetrapak, not the original tetrahedron which was ground breaking but the Tetra-Brik which became an even bigger commercial success and I cannot ever see being improved on or superceded, the latest sliding collar foil cutter and one way clutch system all built in to the plastic cap that most consumers dont even know is there or appreciate what it does is the probably the best bit of conceeptual, detail design and manufacture I have ever seen, simple, elegant, fullfills its purpose yet remains anonymous, it doesn't detract from the product and its marketting.

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Yes I could go with Tetrapak as an iconic design, but could it be improved?? Well despite the recycle bins accepting it (but not it seems yoghurt cartons*), it is such a mish-mash of materials that its recyclability must be questionable. [HDPE cap and cutter; card body, but wax impregnated; frequently bonded (with what as bonding agent?) to an aluminium coating and usually a PE liner bonded to that..

* Why the hell cannot we recycle a yoghurt carton? They are either made from PP (floats in water) or PS (sinks in water) and both can be recycled.

Sorry design of recycling systems rant over,
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My little bit of contribution -

Harrier Jump Jet or Sea Harrier - the most innovative, marvellous - dancing - plane.   Anyone see it 'taking a bow' at an airshow ?   Incredible machine.

Oh and it has to be Concorde - elegant, fantastic,.   To see one now, caged and shackled in a museum when it should be touching the heavens is heart-breaking.

Cars - the Cortina Mk 1 GT - with the eye-ball air vent system - full blast could dry hair in five minutes.

E- type Jag - elegant and sleek.

Morris Oxford (late 50s-early 60s the round shaped one);  bench seats, column gear stick, low transmission hump - beautiful, easy car to drive.

re comments above on Ford Anglia 105E - do NOT mock the back sloping window - it really did keep the back window clear in the rain.   Not a nice car;  former boyfriend had one and it hated me; damned thing always stalled on me in first gear.

And for a woman's choice - the Classic - ta rah - the Kenwood Food Mixer  (just watched James May re-assemble model identical to one I'm still using.... now I can understand why it's so heavy, why the 'clunk' is so satisfying, and why it'll never wear out.

Pyrex cookware - just don't drop any.

And for fun - Chanel No 5 perfume.

There's a mix to think about !!

Chessie

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Another nomination.

 

Scratch, - sorry that should be Velcro [:$]

 

You could add the zip equally.

 

I suspect for a lot of the nominations the design/invention predates the 20th century but manufacturing and/or matériels technology allowed the commercialisation.

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Another definition for me of a classic design is something that does not need to be an invention, it can be a redesign or evolution of an everyday product that gives a combination of form and function that makes it a pleasure to use such that it will never be replaced by another type.

 

There are 3 things that have been carried in my pockets for a couple of décades that have earned their place and my loyalty by the above measures.

 

AAA Maglite albeit with LED bulb conversion which reduces its focus utility.

 

Laguiole folding knife

 

Nokia 2310 mobile phone.

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