Sunday, July 31, 2011

The need to set the record straight and tell his story.

Bill Curry, Art Center graduate, designer, ad man, and industrial designer who founded Design Line, Incorporated in El Segundo in 1963 with his wife Jacquelyn.

Bill was my father's best friend and when Bill died in 1971 at the age of 43, my father married his wife Jacquelyn.  Together they did their best to keep Design Line, Inc. alive. The 70s weren't kind to a design company so rooted in the 1960s, so they packet up the remaining inventory and called it quits in 1977. Sadly, Jackie died a few years later in 1985.

Now decades later, my father dusted off a box of Bill's work and its contents - photographs, blueprints, sketches realized and unrealized, letters, writings, brochures, and clippings will help me tell you about Bill Curry and Design Line.

And as for setting the record straight, the Jack bookend (cast-iron prototype shown) is often incorrectly attributed to George Nelson.  Design Line, Inc. produced a 6" 3 lb rough iron casting in 12 colors which sold for $7, the brass were $9, and a slightly larger 9" 9 lb version was also produced.


  1. What a shame that he died so young. I'm sure he would of had many many more wonderful designs to come. Thanks for sharing your story.

  2. In this catalog:

    California Design, Pasadena Art Museum, Vol. 9, 1965, Page 66.

    I quote:

    "Jack bookends of cast iron in a variety of colors designed by Bill Curry for Design Line Inc."

    Thank you for setting the record straight,
    Best regards,

  3. Thanks for creating this blog of Dads designs and lights etc. Growing up for the few years I got to know my father I was constantly surrounded by good design, clean concepts of industrial design and form. Sadly I was too young to appreciate it. Now as a much older man( all grown up) I like to think that a sliver of my dads creativity is coursing through my veins too. Thanks Dad for the life long pasion of all things clean and simple.

    Your youngest son: Eric Curry

    For anybody who is interested, you can see what dad's nurturing has done to my own career as a photograher by going to:

    1. Eric
      So nice to hear from you after all these years. I've seen your web site and your photography is fantastic and inspiring.

      Let me know if you have anything to contribute to this web page on your father.
      I've got several boxes of Design Line records from my father and a collection of your father's TRW security posters(which are fantastic), early computer designs, showroom and lobby exhibits and some sketches for unrealized products that I'll start to post as I find the time.

      Let me know if you have anything that we might scan and upload?

      Congratulations on your fine work.

  4. I just came across some of these jacks, but they have a marking that says 'Japan" and i have not been able to find anything similar could you tell me if these are a reproduction or the Original ones. ^^

  5. If the Jack is marked "Japan" then it wasn't made by Design Line.

  6. This is so amazing, I grew up in the South Bay with my cousins who lived in Manhattan Beach. Their lovely Grandma Glo worked in El Segundo at Design Line for many years. I was surrounded my design line my entire young life. I now collect whatever I can afford/find. I've looked for information everywhere and I'm anxious to see more, thanks for doing this!

  7. Sadly, I'm rather busy with work right now. I do promise to get back to it soon. I too grew up with Design Line products in my home environment and I can remember visiting the showroom/office and warehouse. It was quite special place in El Segundo, as were all the people involved. If I find info or photos that reference any of the workers, I'll be sure to post these.

  8. I am so excited to find this blog! I found some Design Line metal items at a local estate sale and purchased them. I have searched ebay and the internet to see what they are worth and couldn't find anything, and now I realize how short lived the company was. Thank you for your work in putting up this information. I love the 2 items I have and love seeing the other designs here on the blog!

  9. Thank you for this blog, Julie. I am a new appreciator of Bill Curry and the Design Line products. I have acquired a few of the lamps, but am interested in the jacks as well. Do you know of a way to authenticate true Design Line jacks? I know they are not marked, but I thought there might be some other way (e.g. is the paint glossy or flat, are there casting seams or are they smooth, that sort of thing). Thanks for any help you can give me.

  10. Great to see this blog keeping the art and design of Bill alive.He and his wife went way to soon.I am their nephew and spent countless hours at the warehouse after school bothering the employees like Gloria and my mom Barbra.I still get inspiration from his work and i'm so very happy to see it compiled here.Thank You for your time and energy.

  11. I use this blog for reference but I haven't seen it updated in a long time. I know time is precious but do you have any new updates your just itching to add from your father's work? I wish I could find at least 1 of each of his his items to add to my home. I have a few stemlites, some orangeish bookends, a white cubelite, several jacks including an awesome orange red and chrome, and what I think is a pickup light. Also, do you have any history on your father's work at Laurel? I have several lamps that look like stemlights and two hourglass mushroom lamps in brushed silver.. I've read they are his design but it's almost near impossible to find history on them. Thanks - Bill Curry/Design Line fanatic.