Peter Muller-Munk (1904-1967)

Industrial designer known for kitchenware designs

Updated: November 27, 2012

The Normandie Pitcher was one of Peter Muller-Munk's most famous designs.

Peter Muller-Munk was a leading industrial designer of the 1930s to 1960s, best known for kitchenware designs. Born in Berlin, Muller-Munk studied as a silversmith at the University of Berlin and studied design with Bruno Paul. He emigrated to New York in 1926, where he first worked with Tiffany’s and early on exhibited his work at a Macy’s exhibition in 1928 as well as at several Metropolitan Museum of Art shows. During the 1930s he taught as head of the design program at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, one of the first industrial design programs in the United States initiated by Donald Dohner.

Muller-Munk's work remained largely focused on an up-scale, elite market,  but, like that of his colleague Raymond Loewy, it can also be viewed as part of a wider effort in "consumer engineering" which used design to entice consumer demand in the aftermath of the Depression. Beginning in the 1930s, he designed a wide array of products for companies including Westinghouse, Dow Chemicals, Texaco and U.S. Steel. Among his most noted Art Deco designs are the 1937 chrome Waring Blender and his Normandie Pitcher for Revere Copper and Brass, produced between 1935 and 1941. He set up his own design firm, Peter Muller-Munk Associates in Pittsburgh in 1938.  In 1954, he was president of the Society of Industrial Designers, and in 1957, became the first president of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design. Thus, Muller-Munk influenced the postwar design world in the United States as well as across the Atlantic. His work was displayed as part of post-war exhibitions of "American" consumer design and as European industrial designers began to professionalize as well, study-tour traveled to the United States to confer with Muller-Munk and other leading voices in the American profession.   

Selected Publications

Müller-Munk, Peter. "Industrial Design." Design 38 (1937): 12-25.

Selected Bibliography

Grafly, Dorothy. "Peter Muller-Munk: Industrial Designer." Design 47 (May 1946): 9.

Lesko, Jim. "Industrial Design at Carnegie Institute of Technology, 1934-1967." Journal of Design History 10 (1997): 269-292.

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"Peter Muller-Munk (1904-1967)." (2021) In Transatlantic Perspectives, Retrieved September 18, 2021, from Transatlantic Perspectives: