American Decorative Arts
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Designer: Henry Dreyfuss, American, 1904–1972
Manufacturer: Western Electric Company Incorporated, American, 1872–1995

Telephone, Model No. 302

introduced 1937

Die-cast metal, Bakelite, and enamel

5 5/8 × 8 3/4 × 7 1/2 in. (14.3 × 22.2 × 19.1 cm)
Yale University Art Gallery
1999.124.1
Industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss worked with Bell Telephone Laboratory’s engineers beginning in 1930 and stressed the need for unifying equipment design and modifying the aesthetic of the telephone. As a result, the model no. 302 was a marked improvement over its predecessor, the 1927 model no. 202, in both form and function. The newer design incorporated the same finger wheel but balanced the weighty transmitter/receiver handset with a sturdy rectangular base. Dreyfuss pays homage to a 1930 Bakelite plastic phone designed by Jean Heiberg for the L. M. Ericsson Company of Stockholm in the upper body’s inward curve, a detail that was dropped from later designs. Along with Bell telephones, other works, including Hoover vacuums, John Deere tractors, and the Big Ben clock, have become recognizable Dreyfuss designs.
Culture: 
American
Period: 
20th century
Classification: 
Tools and Equipment
Geography: 
Probably made in Cicero, Illinois
Designed in New York, New York
Status: 
On view
Provenance: 

Hollywood Phones, Boulder, Colo., by 1999

Bibliography: 

“Acquisitions, 1999,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2000): 162.

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), 305, no. 210.

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 such records is ongoing.