There was a time when everything electric was new and modern. There was also a time when everything plastic was a new and modern miracle. You can imagine that at the time this red electric wall clock was made, both electric and plastic meant something special and modern to the people reading the time on it. After centuries of mechanical time-pieces made of wood and metal, hewn by human hands, the idea of a brightly coloured, plastic moulded clock with modern design and typography and a minimal aesthetic must have been quite the revolutionary departure from the norm. While this particular red clock by General Electric was probably not one of those earliest of electric wall clocks, you can see what a symbol of the new it could have been, with it’s electrical connection, the clean sans serif typography and the safe knowledge that it would never have to be wound to keep it going.
There’s that classic flat-coloured, enamel painted home appliance look favoured by artists of the heady 50s and my high-end brands of today in small numbers, and then there is the sort of electric shiny version of the coloured home appliance which we ended up with in the last three decades. This shiny metallic red microwave oven is a fine example of the latter. I guess it was an inevitable shift. Cars too had flat enamel style paint in past decades and these days we seem to favour the metallic shades, we’ve grown to see them as more modern and futuristic with flat colours being a sign of bygone times. Using the reverse logic, since customised sports cars are now getting vinyl matt color surfaces as the new hot thing, perhaps a matt red microwave will be finding its way soon to a kitchen near you.
Some random browsing brought me to this palette of colours on the Colour Lovers site (The name already gets my approval!)
It’s called Armorial Red, and it is a palette of 5 rich colours named (I kid you not) Big Red, Just Upon a Smile, Hot Samovar, Blossom, and Vintage Carpet. That’s so cheesy, it’s brilliant! What’s not to like?
Going back to Armorial Red, it’s a very classic looking palette which shows hints of old early 20th century posters and advertising. There’s something of the old-world charm of ice-cream shops and drug stores to it, along with the obvious medieval coat-of-arms influences eluded to by the official name of the palette. All in all, a useful set of colours that can have a wide range of uses when sophistication and a certain grown-up playfullness is called for.
Colour Lovers looks like a great site, and I have a feeling I’m going to be visiting them often for further exploration. I’ll be sure to post any outstanding discoveries here.