Black DIY Tradition

Sewing Machines Chuck Harrison
Chuck Harrison designed 8-12 sewing machines every year for 12 years.

This Black History Month it’s good to remember that Do-It-Yourself did not begin with the Hipsters. African Americans have a long tradition of making the objects of everyday life stretching back to their first days in the Americas. Designing more than 100 home sewing machines in 10 years, the great African American industrial designer Charles Harrison carried this tradition forward in his work during the latter 20th Century.. “85 percent of my effort went into designing consumer products to improve people’s everyday quality of life.”

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Charles Harrison

Charles Harrison

1931 - 2018

Charles “Chuck” Harrison is a designer, educator and speaker specializing in industrial design across multiple consumer products areas. The primary portion of his career was spent working for Sears Roebuck & Company, beginning as a freelancer, then as a staff designer and later as the head of the company’s design department. A prolific designer, Harrison’s work touched almost every area of household products from cribs to tractors and everything in between.


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