Before our homes got smart: 7 old appliances that throw back a bygone era

Before our homes got smart: 7 old appliances that throw back a bygone era
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author Jacopo Prisco, CNN

The basement of Dutch designer Jaro Gielens is a sight to behold: the 1,000-square-meter space became a warehouse for one of the world’s largest collections of small appliances from the 1960s to the 1990s. situation. A niche pursuit, you might think, but together these items hold stories that reach far beyond the walls of her home.

“The unique fact is that all items come complete with original packaging,” he said in an email interview. “Pictures and graphics on the box best show how these products were presented and marketed, and often tell what era the product originated from.”

The collection now stands at 1,370 names, covering all product categories except vacuum cleaners and microwave ovens. The largest group represented is coffee makers, followed by hair dryers, mixers and dental appliances. Some of the most iconic items are featured in the collector’s new book.”Soft Electronics.”

Gadgets speak of a very different time in product design that coincides with new consumer behaviors and needs.

Unlike the expected wear and tear associated with today’s appliances, these older models were built to last — Gielens uses some of them and says many still work as intended to this day. It follows one of the key design principles promulgated in the late 1970s by influential designer Dieter Rams, whose work at Braun is often praised by former Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive. Rams said good design means making products that are useful, understandable, long-lasting and environmentally friendly.

At the same time, according to Gielens, the introduction of new materials allowed manufacturers to offer more products. “New and better types of plastics and smaller electrical components have helped designers create devices for all kinds of tasks. And changes in lifestyle, leisure and fashion have demanded and offered opportunities for these new devices,” he said.

Interestingly, he started the collection only five years ago. Given that there was very limited information about many of the products he found, he decided to create one online directory they include all of them.

Her book features a selection of nearly 100 items from a cache full of promises for a vastly improved, efficient or glamorous home life dominated by curved lines and bright colors, beautiful relics of a simpler, more carefree world.

Below, the collector shared some of his favorite items.

Mrs. Braun Luftkissen HLH 1

“Perhaps the best example of a Soft Electronics product. An innovative design combined with a completely new form of use: a hands-free hair dryer. The transparent helmet makes it look very futuristic. This design was copied by almost all other manufacturers. 1970’s the second half of the years”.

(picture above)

Bosch Kaffeemühle K12

Bosch Kaffeemühle K12.

Bosch Kaffeemühle K12. Credit: Jaro Gielens/Soft Electronics/gestalten

“In my opinion, it is the perfect coffee maker for filter coffee. You can grind the coffee directly into the filter holder, which can be placed under the grinder. The design has very elegant geometries and is combined with a large transparent cylinder with a more rectangular shape. base.”

Philips Ladyshave HP 2111

Philips Ladyshave HP 2111.

Philips Ladyshave HP 2111. Credit: Studio Sucrow/Soft Electronics/gestalten

“Philips has sold tens of millions of cosmetic shavers for women around the world. After competing with electric men’s shavers for several years, they are now six years ahead of Braun with this new product. The design of the HP 2111 is the result of a great design. In the mid-1970s Harmonization project with Philips. Fun fact: all Ladyshavers are manufactured in Philips plants in Austria (instead of the Netherlands).”

SEB Cafetiere Filter

SEB Cafetiere Filter.

SEB Cafetiere Filter. Credit: Studio Sucrow/Soft Electronics/gestalten

“The first device with a drip-stop mechanism. Many would have added this feature sooner or later, but they all tried to solve it differently. The design shows how good the French manufacturers are in terms of production quality. The large colored plastic and clear plastic parts are all very high quality and SEB has managed to develop a unique style for its products.

Kenwood Cheffette de-Luxe

Kenwood Cheffette de-Luxe.

Kenwood Cheffette de-Luxe. Credit: Jaro Gielens/Soft Electronics/gestalten

“There have been several Kenwood Chefette mixers over the years, and they’re still sold today. But this is really the best version: country beige and brown, with an updated octagonal shape. More of a modernist aesthetic than you’d like.”

Philips BOX 2 HR 2010

Philips BOX 2 HR 2010.

Philips BOX 2 HR 2010. Credit: Studio Sucrow/Soft Electronics/gestalten

“In the early 1980s, Philips developed a whole product line: the Box series. All versions were based on two main sections: a folding stand and a motor module. It was a real Transformer-type product, multifunctional and modular. The largest and most complete version included numerous attachments and even will be a full kitchen machine with a dedicated storage cabinet. Unfortunately, the entire series was discontinued after just one year.”

Brown 550

cover of "Soft Electronics" There is a Braun 550 hair dryer by gestalten and Jaro Gielens.

Soft Electronics by Gestalten and Jaro Gielens features a Braun 550 hair dryer on the cover. Credit: Studio Sucrow/Jaro Gielens/Soft Electronics/gestalten

“In the mid-1970s hair dryers were much smaller, and the cord storage on the handle is a great example of how these devices were made as travel accessories. The shape is perfectly rounded and unique because it doesn’t have completely flat or flat surfaces.”

“Soft Electronics” by Jaro Gielens is published by gestalten.

Best photo caption: Lady Brown Luftkissen HLH 1.

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