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Inventor You Should Know: Peter Muller-Munk

Berlin-born and Pittsburgh-based designer and inventor Peter Muller-Munk has been posthumously honored with an exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Art. The exhibit details his industrial design career and includes his best known products, like the Normandie pitcher and the Waring waterfall blender.

Muller-Munk immigrated to the United States in 1926, pre-Depression era, where he began his career as a silversmith at Tiffany & Co. But as the demand for luxury goods decreased, he adapted his work to suit mass production, designing a number of consumer goods for powerhouse companies like Westinghouse, Texaco, and U.S. Steel.

In 1935, Muller-Munk would design his most famous product, the art-deco inspired Normandie pitcher, a chromium-plated brass pitcher resembling the prow of its French ocean-liner namesake. Gaining traction, Muller-Munk was invited to head the industrial-design program at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh (now Carnegie Mellon University). He drew inspiration from the industrial hub, visiting factories and studying mass production methods.

In 1945, Muller-Munk established Peter Muller-Munk Associates, a nationally-recognized firm of over 30 designers servicing top clients with products like a chrome blender, home movie cameras, projectors, power tools, and even a frost-free refrigerator.

The CMA exhibit features Muller-Munk’s designs and project plans, chronicling the work of a man with a unique vision for the common props of everyday life. Stop by “Silver to Steel: The Modern Designs of Peter Muller-Munk” through April 11, 2016.

 

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