The P-51 Mustang is one of the most celebrated fighters of the 20th century. The WWII-era single seat plane was introduced in the middle of the conflict and served to tremendous success in both the European and Pacific theaters. The most widely produced of the P-51 models was the D variant, which was put into service in 1944 and would became the workhorse (bad pun) of the USAAF in Europe. Outside of its beautiful shape, speed and maneuverability, what made the P-51D special was the Packard built V-1650 engine. The fighter’s power plant was a North American made supercharged version of the illustrious Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. This gave the P-51 an incredible top speed and a ceiling of over 41,000 feet. Perfect for long range bomber support. After the war, the iconic fighter even inspired Ford designers to name their new sports car after the P-51.
I feel like an idiot. Chad Lemke has been blogging about staplers since 2007 and I had no idea. I’ve never met Chad and don’t collect staplers or anything, but when I found his blog the sheer joy hit me like a ton of bricks. The first thing I did was email the Stapler of the Week link to Alex Olch — he’s a stapler lover like myself. The email went something like this. Subject: FUCK. ME. Body: This is why god created the internet. Olch agreed. I imagined him giddy and grinning as he inspected the online treasure-trove of paper connecting goodness.
Not only is Mr. Lemke an earnest and well versed stapler collector, his blog is exactly what you would expect from someone who is fixated with paper organizing devices. Text, coherent and exactly justified in tidy columns with beautiful photography on pristine white backgrounds. Layout simple and uncluttered. The blog is very well done. This discovery renews my sense of pride in Americans. We can obsesses over the most arcane subjects just as well as the Japanese. For that Chad, I salute you. Visit, bookmark and read Stapler of the Week.
Its the little things in life that are interesting. I bet you never even thought about postage meter stamps, well that means you are missing out on the Meter Stamp Society. This is one small dorky step above collecting coins (sorry Robbie), or even actual stamps. Some of my favorite WWII varieties below.
My friend Rob in LA recently sent me a cool gift set of classic books in the shape of cigarette packs. The cleverly designed reading materials were produced by Tank Magazine and are aptly dubbed Tank Books. The set will make a great gift and won’t even cause cancer, unless you read them in front of the microwave that is.
Then (c. 1949)
On Aesthetics is a look at the details of design and the things around us.
When discussing graphic design, to say you are a fan of Saul Bass and Paul Rand is like talking about golf and referencing Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. It is a given. Not having a huge amount of knowledge about the field, I can still appreciate their timeless American designs. The blogger, artist and graphic designer James White has two very cool features on his exquisite blog Signalnoise, showcasing the mid-century logos of the great Saul Bass and Paul Rand. The iconic designs created by Rand and Bass are still recognizable and loved by layman (read: me) and professionals to this day.
The new Design Within Reach Tools for Living store opened today on Wooster Street in SoHo. Since my office is a few short blocks away, I decided to check it out at lunch. The purpose of the mission was actually get a flask that I saw the previous day on 10engines. You see, the flask wasn’t available online at the time and when I called DWR they said, “the new Tools for Living store, which opens tomorrow, will have this in stock.” Perfect. Upon arrival to the neatly organized bi-level shop, my jaw hit the newly installed floor. The upper section of the store offers home, kitchen, office goods, so I headed directly to the lower level for the more brutish “tools” section.