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2013/119/1 Telephone, 'Bauhaus', metal / Bakelite / rubber / electronic components, design attributed to Marcel Breuer / Richard Schadewell, 1928, made by Fuld & Co / Telephonbau & Normazeit GmbH, Frankfurt / Main, Germany, probably 1934. Click to enlarge.

Fuld 'Bauhaus' telephone design attributed to Marcel Breuer and Richard Schadewell

Designed
The design of the Fuld telephone has been attributed to Marcel Breuer who was engaged to design the new Factory Buildings for the Fuld Co. in the 1927/8 period. The Fuld telephone was selected for the "New Frankfurt" housing program; a modern low cost housing development intended to relieve the post World War I housing shortage. The German Werkbund and the Bauhaus were involved in this project, and the phone is therefore often called the Bauhaus phone. Every apartment was fitted with one of …

Summary

Object No.

2013/119/1

Object Statement

Telephone, 'Bauhaus', metal / Bakelite / rubber / electronic components, design attributed to Marcel Breuer / Richard Schadewell, 1928, made by Fuld & Co / Telephonbau & Normazeit GmbH, Frankfurt / Main, Germany, probably 1934

Physical Description

The rotary dial telephone sits neatly on a flat surface, with the somewhat larger handset extending much wider than the body. The body is black lacquered sheet brass, with an inset rotary dial face in white enamel with black numbers, set into a nickel disk. The centre of the dial has a black metal disk with slightly raised numbers in white (in the new Futura font) and the company logo 'TN' and is attached to the body with a silver six sided screw. The cradle plunger, which looks like two large Bakelite 'ears', holds the relatively large handset, made of one piece of Bakelite slightly arched for the hand, with the receiver and speaker set in circular disks on either side. The receiver is tilted directionally to reduce acoustic feedback and distortion when speaking into the phone. The textile covered cord is attached to this end. There are two small buttons on the front face of the body, a grey one top left is an extension switch and slides up and down. A black recall button is fitted on the lower right side. A black metal label holder is affixed to the front edge, now with blank aged cardboard, but perhaps for the number of the phone.There are perforated air vents on each side of the body, and at the back a diamond shaped metal plate with the company logo TN for Telefonbau & Normazeit GmbH.

Marks

On base plate a number and date has been scratched: W3 29.1.34

Dimensions

Height

135 mm

Width

250 mm

Depth

165 mm

Production

Notes

Designed and manufactured by Fuld & Co. Telefonbau & Normazeit, in Frankfurt am Main. Design attributed to Marcel Breuer and Richard Schadewell, this model with slight alterations, was probably manufactured 1934.

The Fuld's form is arresting in its differences to all contemporary telephones. The design of the Fuld telephone has been attributed to Marcel Breuer who was engaged to design the new Factory Buildings for the Fuld Co. in the 1927/8 period. The Fuld telephone uses a mixture of materials, with the body in black lacquered sheet brass and a substantial Bakelite handset extending wider than the body. The round rotary dial for the telephone sits neatly in the middle of a square surface on the top of the base creating a strong design element. This is reinforced by all sides of the base which are almost perpendicular to this surface. The handset in Bakelite is commanding in its presence when resting in the cradle.

The raw metal baseplate is removable by releasing two hooks, thus revealing the phone workings. The plate is perforated, has an empty holder for a name, (ordered to be removed by the Nazi party after 1933) and scratched on the surface at the back W3 29.1.34. It has four rubber feet, one at each corner.

History

Notes

The telephone was designed and manufactured for the "New Frankfurt" housing program, low cost housing intended to relieve the post World War 1 housing shortage. The German Werkbund and the Bauhaus were involved in this project, and the phone is therefore often called the Bauhaus phone. Every apartment was fitted with one of these phones, the parts of which were standardised and mostly made in small workshops. The apartments were also equipped with the 'Frankfurter Kuche' or Frankfurt kitchen, the first built-in kitchen, designed by Margarete Schutte-Lihotzky. The phone design had three main generations, the first being made of steel with no side holes, the next made of lacquered brass to allow the punching of side holes (this one), and later ones of Bakelite. The numbers are in the Futura font, designed by Paul Renner for the New Frankfurt project.

This example was purchased in Germany, obviously used, and probably made in 1934. In 1933 the Nazi party insisted on the removal of the Fuld (Jewish) name from the base plate and logo, replacing it with TN as with this model.

Source

Credit Line

Purchased 2013

Acquisition Date

30 October 2013

Cite this Object

Harvard

Fuld 'Bauhaus' telephone design attributed to Marcel Breuer and Richard Schadewell 2023, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 4 February 2023, <https://ma.as/474363>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/474363 |title=Fuld 'Bauhaus' telephone design attributed to Marcel Breuer and Richard Schadewell |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=4 February 2023 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}