Happy Birthday Ellen Manderfield (1916-1999)

Ellen ManderfieldBorn on February 11, 1916, Manderfield had a distinguished industrial design career for five decades. Growing up in Chicago, she helped her father in woodworking projects and decided to become a furniture designer. But her father said furniture design was not a profession for a woman. She graduated from Mundelein College of Loyola University in Chicago with a BFA then studied commercial art graduating in 1939. Manderfield worked for the next six years as a graphic and packaging designer. She worked for a number of companies: Meyercord Co. in Chicago and Colonial Radio Corp. of Buffalo NY (later Sylvania Electric).

From 1947 until 1951, she worked at the Montgomery Ward Bureau of Design under Anne Swainson. Here she designed hundreds of products such as bathroom fixtures, lawn mowers, sewing machines and toasters. Then joined General Electric in Syracuse, NY, designing televisions and electronic equipment.

Ellen Manderfield Oneida Dover

Ellen Manderfield Oneida Omni

It was in 1956, when she turned down a job with Donald Deskey to join Oneida Ltd. Silversmiths, where she designed over 200 flatware patterns, including Dover (production 1968-2004) and the well-known Omnia (1958 – present). Manderfield retired from Oneida in 1986 after 30 years.

In 1957, she became the first woman member of IDSA, then known as the American Society of Industrial Designers. And in 1992, the first woman to receive the IDSA Personal Recognition Award.manderfield ellen abstract wc