Deconstructing Product Design
This simplicity and ease of use, makes this product wonderful. It is a timeless design. The older ones look better, they didn’t really improve anyting with some of the slight changes they have made over time.
I have messed with a few though that have been inaccurate and had to fuss with them quite a bit. It’s better than frostbite though.
The place I just moved into has one of these to control the highly inefficient dinosaur of a furnace in the basement. I miss the program thermostat. Now I must remember to turn it down before I leave in the morning, and its awfully cold when I get home. Having that furnace kick on an hour before you get home can make the Northern Michigan winters a bit more pleasant.
The crisp seams on the recent plastic versions are kind of jarring to those who know the sensual rolled edges on the original metal versions. The limitations of the metal forming processes actually added to the unified beauty of the original.
It was ironic to touch a cool feeling metal housing to turn down the heat. One would expect the device to feel too warm if the room was too warm. Now it’s ironic to touch a warm feeling plastic housing to turn up the heat.
Setting aside that newer designs can vastly improve conservation of fuel, there is something to be said for intuitive designs like this one. But I’ve often wondered why they never made it easier to read; silver numerals on a silver background?
A while ago Honeywell introduced a digital version of this product, because they analogue version could no longer be sold because of the quicksilver it held (thermostat). I have that newer version in my home. There’s something extremely intuitive about twisting a knob to set the temperature. You can do it without thinking; it’s user interface does not ‘get in the way’.
I love these things. The Dreyfuss design really is very congruent and nice, and certainly much better than those modern boxes. I remember form my childhood all my relatives had these things hanging on their wall. In fact, for the first few years in my life I believed they were a light dimmer. This led to me getting disappointed because it didn’t really seem to do anything to the lights, and getting yelled at for heating up the house to 30 degrees celcius.
The original benefit proposition to the round design was that they could be installed quickly without getting a level out to align the rectangular ones so they didn’t look cockeyed on the wall next to corners or door jamb molding.
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