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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. It is dated 1935. 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. It is credited Gift of George R. Kravis II.

  • Vase
  • glazed earthenware.
  • Gift of George R. Kravis II.
  • 2015-41-5

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

  • Flask
  • sterling silver, cork.
  • Lent by Brooklyn Museum, Modernism Benefit Fund, 1990.10a-b.
  • 33.2016.3
  • Painting, Brooklyn Bridge
  • oil on canvas.
  • Lent by Yale University Art Gallery, Gift of Collection Société Anonyme,....
  • 65.2016.9

Its dimensions are

H x diam. (a,b): 33 × 8.3 cm (13 in. × 3 1/4 in.) H x W x D (c): 2.2 × 36.8 × 29.2 cm (7/8 × 14 1/2 × 11 1/2 in.) H x diam. (d/j): 11.4 × 6.4 cm (4 1/2 × 2 1/2 in.)

Cite this object as

Manhattan Cocktail Service; Designed by Norman Bel Geddes (American, 1893–1958); Manufactured by Revere Copper and Brass Company; chrome-plated brass; H x diam. (a,b): 33 × 8.3 cm (13 in. × 3 1/4 in.) H x W x D (c): 2.2 × 36.8 × 29.2 cm (7/8 × 14 1/2 × 11 1/2 in.) H x diam. (d/j): 11.4 × 6.4 cm (4 1/2 × 2 1/2 in.); Gift of George R. Kravis II; 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= |title=Manhattan Cocktail Service |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=22 March 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>