This leading German domestic appliance, computer, and communications manufacturer was founded in 1847 and, in the later 19th century, was involved in the production of telegraph and generating equipment. Like fellow German company AEG Siemens became involved with electrical appliance design and manufacture in the early 20th century, developing in tandem with the increasingly rapid and widespread growth of electricity consumption. Although the company manufactured a wide range of appliances in the 1920s and 1930s including the Protos vacuum cleaner (1927), the Protos washing machine, and the FeApp 37 telephone (1937), it did not establish a design department until 1937. After the Second World War key designers for the company included Norbert Schlagheck (working for Siemens from 1954 to 1967) and Herbert H. Schultes, who became the company's chief designer in 1984. Schultes effected a significant change of corporate design policy with the establishment in 1997 of a sizeable independent design company, Design & Messe, that specialized in design innovation and worked for other companies as well as Siemens. (From 1964 both Schlagheck and Schultes had collaborated in their own celebrated design consultancy, Schlagheck & Shultes, renamed Schlagheck Design in 1991.) Additionally, mirroring earlier industrial collaborations with AEG and Bosch in the later 1960s, 30 years later Siemens collaborated with external agencies for the design of a number of its products including the S29 mobile telephone (Schlagheck Design, 1998) and the TC 91100 coffee machine (Ferdinand Porsche).
Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.