Design Meriden at artdesigncafé

Emily Hall Tremaine Miller Company Meriden Bradley & Hubbard stand Meriden Wilcox mansion Meriden Napier Company penguin Meriden
Meriden Britannia buffalo hunt sculpture Bradley & Hubbard candlestick holders Meriden Wilcox Silver Plate Co urn Meriden Miller Co Painting toward architecture Burle-Marx Meriden
Philip Johnson facade Miller Company Meriden Wilcox Silver Plate Co tea set Meriden Miller Co Meriden Mondrian International Silver Company theater Hollywood
Do you know how the artworks and designs shown above relate to the historical Meriden area? If not, click the photos and be directed to sources where you can learn more.

Join us in the design discovery
So far, over 12,000 sources compiled online. Over 3600 museum objects already found; 5500 to 7500 or more seem possible.

Design Meriden at artdesigncafe is the centralized, online disseminator of information focused on accomplished historical art and design from the area of Meriden, Connecticut, USA (c. 1860-1965). Here, we an unearthing the largely hidden, collective visual arts history of the area, connecting notable dots, and spotlighting its unexpected impact. Its objects were often marketed and communicated via New York, and beyond. Its objects since have been collected by museums nationally and internationally, with the wider area’s leading museum featuring holdings being the Yale University Art Gallery. Works from the Meriden area overall have been featured in an estimated over 1000 exhibitions in the USA and abroad since the 1850s. When you look more closely at the work and widespread curatorial reaction, you’ll understand why the work has received this kind of attention.

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The Meriden area was especially known for the high-quality production of Victorian and Art Nouveau silver, Art Brass, and Modernist silver and chrome ware— as well as the discussion-generating Miller Company Collection of Abstract Art exhibition across America [1947-52; 28(+) venues] and associated cross-disciplinary design projects, the art/design book publisher Meriden Gravure, musical instruments, and Meriden’s International Silver (Company) Theater in Hollywood featuring the biggest stars (1937-50, radio / TV, CBS network), among other accomplishments and design and technological innovations.

Through specialist academic research, professional communications and this online platform, Design Meriden administered by artdesigncafe has helped facilitate a new, recent wave of appreciation and discoveries, from globally to locally. We also actively lobby to make important, rare, historical material far more easily accessible to curators, researchers and enthusiasts— and more widely available via the internet. See Wikipedia’s Meriden page for a quick overview of the region’s achievements. And join us in the design discovery.

Become a part of the design recovery
There are many ways to contribute to the grand Meriden design legacy

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> If you are from the area and this information is new, spread the word to a few friends / colleagues. Due to communications challenges for many decades and the specialist nature of design, too many people are unaware of this grand legacy!

> Alert artdesigncafe if you have any original documentation (pamphlets, etc.) of the companies; we will ask for scans and, if of interest, help you find a national-level institution to protect the documentation and enable the fastest access for future researchers. Sometimes you can be eligible for a tax deduction and you as a donor can be recorded, or the documentation can be donated in memory of a loved one.

> Many different designs, even individual silver plate items, are of interest to museums across the USA and beyond. For many designs, consider donating them to a museum. (First, you should check auction values; many are listed on the company objects pages below.) Sometimes you can be eligible for a tax deduction and you as a donor can be recorded, or the object can be donated in memory of a loved one. At some museums, it can be arranged that your donated design will be photographed and visible online as part of their museum collection.

> Volunteer time to assist in documentation recovery. This can be done from anywhere. Sometimes university students can receive college credit for an internship. For on-site documentation recovery, we are especially looking for assistance in Meriden and Hartford, CT; Santa Barbara, CA; New York City; Washington, DC; Paris, France; and Sydney, Australia. Near fluency in French, German, Portuguese, or Spanish adds new value here.

> For companies and foundations, we offer sponsorship and funding opportunities. Contact artdesigncafe and we will provide more information on how your organization can contribute to the design discovery. In certain ways, artdesigncafe is eligible for American foundation funding.

After contact via our contact form, we will respond promptly and supply all relevant, standard business contact information. Please note, as an international disseminator of contemporary art and design, artdesigncafe receives a considerable amount of promotional email and telephone contact. Therefore, we request initial contact in this manner.

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A. Meriden-area design in museum exhibitions

From New York to Los Angeles, from London to Lisbon, from Paris to Tokyo to Rio de Janeiro and Melbourne, Australia, historical Meriden design has been spotlighted in an estimated over 1000 museum and exposition shows since at least 1853.

9 SEP 17 - 22 JUL 18
Passion for the exotic: Japonism at Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York. (Meriden Silver Plate Co.; Simpson, Hall, Miller & Co.)

17 FEB - 13 MAY 2018
The New Art: A milestone collection fifty years later at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. [Exhibiting Ilya Bolotowsky's Perpendiculars and diagonals, (1945). (Formerly in Miller Company Collection of Abstract Art, 1947-52.)]

The jazz age: American style in the 1920s at Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York (7 April - 20 August 2017); and Cleveland Museum of Art (30 September 2017 - 14 January 2018). (Meriden Silver Plate Co.; Napier Company; R. Wallace & Sons; Wilcox Silver Plate Co. / International Silver Company)

2016 - 1 JAN 18
Stuart Davis: In full swing at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (10 June - 25 September 2016); National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (20 November 2016 - 5 March 2017); de Young Museum, San Francisco (1 April - 6 August 2017); Crystal Bridge Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas (16 September 2017 - 1 January 2018). [Exhibiting Stuart Davis's For internal use only, (1944-45). (Formerly in Miller Company Collection of Abstract Art, 1947-52.)]

12 JUN 17 - 1 OCT 17
Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the archive at Museum of Modern Art, New York [Exhibited "Project for Meteor Crater (unbuilt)], (1948), part of the Miller Company Collection of Abstract Art (1947-52), associated design project.]

3 JUN 17 - 24 SEP 17
The discovery of Mondrian at the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, The Netherlands (3 June - 24 September 2017). [Exhibited Victory Boogie Woogie (1943-44), part of the Miller Company Collection of Abstract Art (1947-52).]

Roberto Burle Marx: Brazilian Modernist at Jewish Museum, New York (6 May - 18 September 2016); Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, Berlin, Germany (7 July - 3 October 2017). [Exhibiting 3 "Tremaine House"-related works, c. 1948, associated with the Miller Company Collection of Abstract Art (1947-52)]

MAY 17 - ongoing
Style and status in sterling: American silver at the Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey (International Silver Company, Wallace Silversmiths, Wilcox Silver Plate Co.)

18 NOV 16 - 12 NOV 17
Shaken, stirred, styled: The art of the cocktail at Dallas Museum of Art (Charter Company; Derby Silver Company; International Silver Company; Napier Company; R. Wallace & Sons; Wilcox & Evertsen Fine Arts)

> See the historical Meriden design exhibition list

B. Meriden-area design at auction

Some historical objects related to the Meriden area do rather well at auction. Check out some of the auction results below.

C. Meet the historical designers

From world-famous to not so famous, historical designers working in the Meriden area and beyond contributed designs to Meriden area / ISC companies. Many designs are collected by museums in America, Europe and elsewhere. Famous designers include Philip Johnson, Raymond Loewy, Eliel Saarinen, Jean G. Theobald, Bradbury Thompson, and Emily Hall Tremaine. It's the designers' work and legacies that we celebrate at Design Meriden.

  • > Meet the historical designers. Learn more about their work
  • D-H. Historical Meriden-area company compilations (designs, catalogues, etc.)

    Documentation recovery initiative: Over 12,000 sources compiled online to date. Over 3600 museum objects found.

    D. Miller Co. - E. ISC - F. Other featured companies - G. Featured early silversmiths - H. Other makers

    E. ISC, predecessors & divisions

    F. Other featured companies manufacturing designs - brassware, cutlery, ironware, furnishings, glassware, household products, jewelry, lamps, and silver goods

    G. Featured early silversmiths

  • G.1. Clement Beecher (1778-1869)
    > designs and historical information
  • G.2. Ashbil Griswold (1784-1853)
    > designs, exhibitions and historical information

  • H. Other historical Meriden area companies to explore

    Brass articles

  • > W. H. Chapman Co. (brass articles)
  • > H. L. Judd & Co. (brass goods, upholsterer hardware
  • > Peerless Mfg. Company (brass articles)
  • Ceramics

  • > Metallic Potters Co. (unknown output)
  • > New England Pottery Company (unknown output)
  • Clocks

    Currency issued by Meriden bank (c. 1865)

    Curtain fixtures, lamp shades (and leather cases)


    Glass makers

    Industrial design - various

    Ivory combs and bone-handled cutlery


    Printing sector


    J. See Design Meriden magazine issues online

    Design Meriden 1(2)

    • > Check out our "Modernism in Meriden" issue, featuring an interview of Jewel Stern, a Miami-based curator / writer / collector who put Modernist silver from Meriden-Wallingford on the national stage. Learn about the spectacular 28(+)-venue Painting toward architecture exhibition, from US coast to coast, organized by the Miller Company Collection of Abstract Art (1947-52). Plus check out the grand presentation of Wilcox Silver Plate Co. / ISC designs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1934.

    Design Meriden 1(1)

    • > Read about the B&H crisis state, the Wilcox mansion, the noteworthy Cambridge-Tremont Street area, the Tremaines and Philip Johnson. Plus check out the floating proposal to thoroughly inform culturally-interested Meriden area high school students about the area's acclaimed art/design legacy. See Design Meriden 1(1).

    K. Mission of Design Meriden

    Historical designers and entrepreneurs FIRST, because it is about their work, not ours-- that's our focus. We see ourselves as partly addressing some decades-long, regional access, gatekeeping, organizational and dissemination challenges that have structurally held back the historical discourse development of the area's accomplished entrepreneurs and designers. We advocate for easier access to rare material, professionalism, and we are absolutely anti-gatekeeping of rare material for personal gain-- which pro-actively damages the legacies of designers and entrepreneurs. We also advocate for more contemporary-like communications of historical designers with information more reasonably accessible and even immediately available to anyone that is interested, anywhere globally, at any time. Historical Meriden area design was made locally with interest nationally and internationally; today's specialist interest level follows the same dispersed path.

    Communicating international contemporary art and design has been our result-driven focus for over 25 years. We bring these approaches to the historical, and to historical Meriden area companies and designers in particular, because they deserve this. They, at times, produced unexpected and exceptional magic. Join us, in paying tribute to their work. Join us, in the design discovery.