Flight Bath Scale

Carroll Gantz
DeFano, Don
Flight Bath Scale

In 1952, this Model 1500 Flight bathroom scale was designed by Don DeFano, Richard Latham (see below) and Franz Wagner of Raymond Loewy Associates. It was introduced by the Borg-Erickson Company in 1953 at $15.00, and was later selected by Fortune magazine as one of the top 500 designs of all time. Richard S. Latham (1920-1991) was born in Kansas City, studied engineering at Kansas City Engineering School and design at Armour Institute under Mies van der Rohe 1940-1942. He started with Montgomery Ward in 1942 and joined Raymond Loewy's Chicago office in 1945 after military service, working on Greyhound buses and aircraft interiors. He later became Director of Design of this office. He spent five years with the German porcelain industry and was instrumental in establishing Rosenthal's Studio Line. In 1955 he founded Latham Tyler Jensen, Inc. with two other Loewy designers, Robert D. Tyler and George Jensen. He was president of ASID in 1959 and of ICSID in 1965. In about 1970 he founded Richard S. Latham & Associates, Inc., and specialized in product planning, pioneering in this area for industrial designers, and became design advisor for Bang & Olufsen of Denmark, and Land's End, which he helped to found. One of the earliest bath scales was the Madaco bathroom scale, produced by the Continental Scale Company of Chicago and named after its parent company, the Mason, Davis Stove Company, was introduced in 1917. It was cast iron and about 9" high. The first to incorporate an easily readable drum dial, it was conceived by Mathias J. Weber, superintendent of the Mason Davis plant, who was inspired by a car speedometer. He patented it in 1916. In 1921, Weber also patented the first clockface dial on a scale. In 1933, low profile (3" to 4" high) bath scales in sheet metal replaced these early boxlike scales. A more recent Borg-Erickson Corporation bath scale, the "Milano", was designed in 1973 by Steve Unger.

100 Years of Design consists of excerpts from a book by Carroll M. Gantz, FIDSA, entitled, Design Chronicles: Significant Mass-produced Designs of the 20th Century, published August 2005 by Schiffer Publications, Ltd.
Copyright Information: 
I own or have obtained the rights to the image(s) included with this article and grant industrialdesignhistory.com the right to post it(them) on its website and make use of it(them) in print media with proper attribution.