Henry Dreyfuss

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For the Swiss chemist and inventor of Celanese, see Henri Dreyfus.
One of the NYC Hudsons given a streamlined casing of Henry Dreyfuss' design to haul the 20th Century Limited
Hoover Model 65 Convertible vacuum cleaner
Western Electric 302 telephone, designed by Dreyfuss

Henry Dreyfuss (/ˈdrfəs/; March 2, 1904 – October 5, 1972) was an American industrial designer. Dreyfuss and his firm received world-wide recognition for numerous designs for a wide spectrum of consumer and commercial products, including their long-time association with the Western Electric company and the Bell System for designing telephones from the 1930s through the 1960s. His design philosophy was based on applied common sense and scientific principles and resulted in significant contributions to human factor analysis and consumer research.


Dreyfuss was a native of Brooklyn, New York. As one of the celebrity industrial designers of the 1930s and 1940s, Dreyfuss dramatically improved the look, feel, and usability of dozens of consumer products. As opposed to Raymond Loewy and other contemporaries, Dreyfuss was not a stylist: he applied common sense and a scientific approach to design problems. His work both popularized the field for public consumption, and made significant contributions to the underlying fields of ergonomics, anthropometrics and human factors. Until 1920 Dreyfuss studied as an apprentice to theatrical designer Norman Bel Geddes, his later competitor, and opened his own office in 1929 for theatrical and industrial design activities. It was an immediate and long-lasting commercial success. As of 2005 his firm continues to operate as Henry Dreyfuss Associates in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with corporate clients.


Dreyfuss and his associates were involved in many significant product developments.

Later life[edit]

In 1955, Dreyfuss wrote Designing for People. A window into Dreyfuss's career as an industrial designer, the book illustrated his ethical and aesthetic principles, included design case studies, many anecdotes, and an explanation of his "Joe" and "Josephine" anthropometric charts. In 1960 he published The Measure of Man, a collection of ergonomic reference charts providing designers precise specifications for product designs. In 1965, Dreyfuss became the first President of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA). In 1969, Dreyfuss retired from the firm he founded,[2] but continued serving many of the companies he worked with as board member and consultant. In 1972 Dreyfuss published The Symbol Sourcebook, A Comprehensive Guide to International Graphic Symbols. This visual database of over 20,000 symbols continues to provide a standard for Industrial Designers around the world.[citation needed]


On October 5, 1972, Henry Dreyfuss and his terminally ill wife and partner Doris Marks Dreyfuss committed suicide together. Dreyfuss is survived by a daughter, eight grandchildren, and ten great grandchildren.[citation needed]



  1. ^ White, Norval & Willensky, Elliot with Leadon, Fran (2010). AIA Guide to New York City (5th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195383867. , p.317
  2. ^ Henry Dreyfuss Associates | People | Collection of Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum


External links[edit]