Peter Schlumbohm. Chemex Coffee Maker. 1941

Peter Schlumbohm

Chemex Coffee Maker


Not on view
Chemex Corp., New York, NY
Pyrex glass, wood, and leather
9 1/2 x 6 1/8" (24.2 x 15.5 cm)
Gift of Lewis & Conger
Object number
Architecture and Design
This work is not on view.
Peter Schlumbohm has 23 works online.
There are 8,569 design works online.

This unified series of kitchenwares by chemist and inventor Schlumbohm epitomizes the kitchen–as–laboratory concept—a hallmark of the interwar New Kitchen—as it continued beyond World War II. After immigrating to the United States from Germany in 1935, Schlumbohm created the famous Chemex coffeemaker, inspired in spirit by the Bauhaus school of design and in form by laboratory equipment such as the Erlenmeyer flask. A feature of James Bond's breakfast in From Russia with Love, this was the most successful design of the more than 300 he patented.

Gallery label from Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen, September 15, 2010-March 14, 2011

Additional text

The Chemex Coffee Maker is the most successful design by Schlumbohm, an inventor and chemist who immigrated to the United States in 1935. In developing its form he was inspired by the modern spirit of the interwar period and particularly by the Bauhaus school of design in Germany. He explained, “A table must be a table; a chair must be a chair; a bed must be a bed. When, in 1938, the personal desire for coffee came up, my aspect simply was: A coffeemaker must make coffee, and then I applied my knowledge of physics and chemistry.” Schlumbohm was inclined to adapt scientific principles and laboratory equipment, in this case an Erlenmeyer flask, to the design of domestic objects. He obtained over three thousand patents over his distinctive career.

Gallery label from What Was Good Design? MoMA's Message 1944–56, May 6, 2009–January 10, 2011

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