Nearly 90 years ago an artistically talented and resourceful young man, Peter Muller-Munk (1904–1967), left his native Germany for New York. After skyrocketing to success as silversmith of modern luxury goods, he moved to Pittsburgh and became one of the leading industrial designers in the world. Silver to Steel: The Modern Designs of Peter Muller-Munk tells his incredible story from start to finish—from candelabra to gas pumps—Silver to Steel.
As a silversmith, Muller-Munk enchanted patrons of the late 1920s with his handwrought wares. When the Great Depression weakened the luxury market, he turned to affordable product design and trained others to do the same as a professor (1935–1945) at Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University). Simultaneously, he founded the design consultancy Peter Muller-Munk Associates (PMMA) and cultivated one of the top creative firms in the country.
In Silver to Steel: The Modern Designs of Peter Muller-Munk, viewers encounter more than 120 objects from the 1920s through the 1970s—stylish centerpieces, colorful cookware and appliances, precise instruments, and powerful tools—supported by period photographs and advertisements. Muller-Munk’s designs are case studies of American culture across half a century, demonstrating the persistent role of good design in bringing beauty, order, and reason to the rituals of daily life.