Three-piece Coffee Service, "Contour" Pattern Designer: Robert J. King (American, 1917–2014)
Designer: John Van Koert (American, born Canada, 1912–1998)
Manufacturer: Towle Manufacturing Company (American, founded 1882)

Designed 1951–52; introduced 1953

American Decorative Arts

On view, 3rd floor, Modern and Contemporary Art and Design

Sterling silver and melamine


Coffee pot, with lid: 10 × 4 3/8 × 7 1/4 in. (25.4 × 11.113 × 18.415 cm)
Creampot: 4 5/16 × 2 1/4 × 3 1/4 in. (10.954 × 5.715 × 8.255 cm)
Sugar bowl, with lid: 3 7/16 × 3 3/8 × 2 7/8 in. (8.731 × 8.573 × 7.303 cm)

Credit Line

Yale University Art Gallery

Accession Number



20th century


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Rosalie Causon, New York, by 1998

Provenance unknown. This service was presented for the first time in 1951 in "Knife/Fork/Spoon" a traveling exhibition sponsored by Towle for the Walker Art Center, It has gained recognition as an icon of 1950s American design. The designer presented a service to MOMA. An example was included in the exhibition "What Modern Was" (1991).
  • John Stuart Gordon et al., A Modern World: American Design from the Yale University Art Gallery, 1920–1950 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2011), 370–71, no. 261
  • "Acquisitions, 1998," in "Recent Projects and Issues in Conservation," special issue, Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (1999), 188–89, ill
Object copyright
Additional information


“TOWLE / STERLING / 57 / [T with lion] / 350,” sans serif, incuse on underside of coffeepot; “57,” incuse on rim of lid of coffeepot; “TOWLE / STERLING / [T with lion] / 350,” sans serif, incuse on underside of creamer; “TOWLE / STERLING / 50 / [T with lion] / 350,” sans serif, incuse on underside of sugar bowl; “50,” incuse on rim of sugar bowl lid

Technical metadata and APIs


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