International Decorative Art

Sparton Bluebird Radio (Model 566)

Sparton Bluebird Radio (Model 566)

Design Date 1934

Designer Walter Dorwin Teague (1883-1960, American)

Manufacturer Sparks-Withington Company (1900-present), Jackson, MI

Media wood, glass and metal

Dimensions 14 3/4 x 14 5/8 x 6 inches

Industrial designer Walter Dorwin Teague’s design for a radio merged Art Deco streamlining with the practicality and function of an everyday machine. The mirrored blue glass front hides the radio workings in the back, while the three metal stripes across the front are elements of the streamlined style of American Art Deco design which often incorporated racing stripes and geometric shapes. Though streamlining originated to minimize wind and water-resistance on aircraft, trains and ships, in American Deco design, it transcended those origins to inspire the look of “things which will never move… simply because of the dynamic quality of this line which occurs in streamline forms, and it is characteristic of our age—this line that starts with a parabolic curve and ends in a long backward sweep,” Teague said. Streamlined design was the epitome of modernity in 1930s America.

ON VIEW in Art Deco Gallery 6

Markings Rear stamped in white, "Bluebird Model 566

Credit Line Collection Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

Accession Number 2004.1850