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Object Timeline

  • We acquired this object.

1935

  • Work on this object began.

2016

2017

2019

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Manhattan Cocktail Service

This is a Cocktail service. It was designed by Norman Bel Geddes and manufactured by Revere Copper and Brass Company. Its medium is chrome-plated brass. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

Both the name and the design of Norman Bel Geddes’ “Manhattan” cocktail service evoke modernity and the metropolis. The service was designed for Revere Copper and Brass Incorporated in 1934. The shaker’s cylindrical form is ribbed allowing for considerable ease when in use; particularly for the condensation that would form on its chromium-plated surface. The sleek form of the shaker’s cylindrical cap is also used in reverse as the form for the cocktail goblets’ bowls. The stepped-form of the tray mimics the setback design of skyscrapers from the 1920s and 1930s, which was due to the 1916 setback ordinance, which regulated the height of the New York buildings at the street line.[1] Similar to other cocktail services of the period, Geddes’ penchant for emphasizing form rather than ornament is key to early American modernist industrial design. When prohibition ended in December of 1933, the demand and interest for barware such as this cocktail service soared, and manufacturers were quick to create barware for a wide-range of consumers. The cocktail set’s chromium-plated finish has the highly reflective surface of polished silver, but the metallic color gives a modernist aesthetic that matches the skyscraper set-back aesthetic that spoke to the wallet as well as personal taste.

This object was donated by George R. Kravis II.

Our curators have highlighted 13 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

  • Cocktail Shaker, 1931
  • silver.
  • Lent by The Art Institute of Chicago, Restricted gift of Quinn E. Delaney;....
  • 34.2016.1

Cite this object as

Manhattan Cocktail Service; Designed by Norman Bel Geddes (American, 1893–1958); chrome-plated brass; 2018-22-61-a/i

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Energizing the Everyday: Gifts From the George R. Kravis II Collection.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/404734447/ |title=Manhattan Cocktail Service |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=15 September 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>