Peter Schlumbohm. Chemex Coffee Maker. 1941

Peter Schlumbohm

Chemex Coffee Maker

1941

Manufacturer
Chemex Corp., New York, NY
Medium
Pyrex glass, wood, and leather
Dimensions
9 1/2 x 6 1/8" (24.2 x 15.5 cm)
Credit
Gift of Lewis & Conger
Object number
51.1943
Department
Architecture and Design
This work is not on view.
Peter Schlumbohm has 23 works online.
There are 9,580 design works online.
There are 2,475 product 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

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

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA's collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

If you would like to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA, please contact Scala Archives (all geographic locations) at firenze@scalarchives.com.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA's archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.