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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • LE BALLON: 1883

None Shall Pass: 1955

None Shall Pass: 1955

January 25, 1955. "Becton Dickinson Inc., Rutherford, New Jersey. Fellheimer & Wagner, client. Double secretarial desk." A veritable Maginot Line of stenographic fortification. 4x5 acetate negative by Gottscho-Schleisner. View full size.

 

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It's all so perfect

Except for that vent, pass-through, escape hatch, or whatever it is behind the foreground secretary.

The carpenter apparently didn't "measure twice before cutting once".

[It's the dinner-tray slot for desk-trapped secretaries. - Dave]

Surgically Sanitary

I enjoy the series of B-D photos for the design and 1950s style of the office building interiors, but do find one thing odd. Aside from an architectural potted plant here and there, I see no personal effects anywhere, no loose papers and pens, no framed family photos, no ashtrays on the desks, nothing to indicate that these offices were actually places where people worked for 8 hours a day. Were these photos staged prior to the building actually opening for business, I wonder? Or did B-D demand that their employees work with such surgical precision?

[The photographer's client was the architectural firm Fellheimer & Wagner; the purpose was to illustrate the office design, presumably with a minimum of distracting elements. - tterrace]

Stepford Secretaries

"I won't be here when you get back, don't you see? It's going to happen before then. Don't ask me to explain it, I just know. There'll be somebody with my name, and she'll answer the phone and take dictation like crazy, but she won't bake cookies, and she won't be me! She'll - she'll, she'll be like one of those the robots in Disneyland."

So explain to me

Why would an architect go through all the trouble to conceal a door, even the veneer matches, and immediately next to that door is one that jumps right out at you with contrasting wood finish, no less. Makes no sense to me.

[I'd say in order to draw attention to an important door (e.g. the one to the nabob's office) and away from a lesser one (e.g. to the broom closet). - tterrace]

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