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EERO SAARINEN General Motors Tech Center Box - 1950's

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Mid-Century Modern2053 of 2633Modernist planter by Dutch factory De Koninklijke Porceleyne FlesMid Century Floral
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Posted 4 years ago


(198 items)

Found this today for two bucks. I think its neat, reminds me of a radio tower! The box is walnut, extremely well-made, very fine craftsmanship, and the lid is chrome or nickel plated with a mirror finish, very, very heavy too, its a SOLID piece of metal. I'm guessing cigar box because of the rectangular shape, might have had a humidifier glued on the lid. Its just GOT to be "someone," some well-known maker. I'll be scouring Google and I'll let you know what I come up with. Anyone have any ideas? Thanks for looking!

*** I knew it, I knew it was someone good! ***

Unsolved Mystery

Help us close this case. Add your knowledge below.


  1. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Hi Still! What are the dimensions of the internal space? Might they relate to cigarettes or cigars? I think it is a wonderful piece of design. Contrasts. I love the stripes, the triangular column handle and the chrome-wood combo. Nice! Love walnut.
  2. Stillwater Stillwater, 4 years ago
    Hey V!

    The inside space is 5.5" x 6.5" and its 9.5" in diameter
    Cigars was my guess too, seems to be about the right size
    Isn't it attractive? Its so speficially-made and iconic that it has to be by someone good. That rectangular cutout on the lid might have had either a humidifier or a label
    Its hard to Google it though, since I'm not even 100% positive what it was meant to be. I kind of ran into a wall :/ Still looking though

    Thanks for the comments and the love V
  3. Stillwater Stillwater, 4 years ago
    Any names to suggest?
  4. AmberRose AmberRose, 4 years ago
    It is very cool....hmmmm
  5. Stillwater Stillwater, 4 years ago
    Hey guys, I figured out what it is! It was designed by EERO SAARINEN!! Its the General Motors Tech Center water tower in Michigan.

    Oh my god, Eero Saarinen is HUGE, he designed the Gateway Arch in St. Lous for crying out loud, along with the Eames house with Charles Eames, the TWA Flight Center, Dulles Airport, the London Embassy... Jeez, it was only $2 at a garage sale..

    I'm so stoked!
  6. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Stands 132 feet tall.
    There is this object sold on ebay:
    May well have been the lid and missing the box that you have.
    Aerial image:
  7. Stillwater Stillwater, 4 years ago
    Yeah I saw that too, he just had the lid I guess
    $200, not bad at all! Mines probably worth double
    Wow, I'm SO happy I found out who designed it...
    What did I say? I KNEW it was someone good!
  8. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    You were totally correct, mate!
    Could have been an item pruced for executives at the GM plant?

  9. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    "Produced" - sorry.
  10. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    There's these sculptures:
    There's these office photos at GM here too:
  11. Stillwater Stillwater, 4 years ago
    Yeah, those Gateway Arch models were the only decorative pieces I could find by him, its all just tables, chairs, and buildings. I'm reading that they did have two manufacturing centers at the GM Tech Center, so you very well could be right about it being produced there

    I was told by someone else who had one, that his had a plaque underneath which described some engineering accomplishment at GM, so it may have been given to their designers for some large project or something like that
  12. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    I was looking around for the box in photos of the offices. I agree there was nothing obvious, ..... yet. There were interesting objects on his desk though, the clock particularly and the phone in the desk looked great.
  13. Stillwater Stillwater, 4 years ago
    Ahhh I saw that phone too! How space-age is THAT? Like something out of the Jetsons

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