Curve Editor Belinda Stening spoke to Schremmer about his Product Planning and Design article published in 1968.
As a qualified mechanical engineer, how did you end up in industrial design?
When I left school in 1946, I wanted to design aeroplanes. I was advised by the chief engineer at De Havilland, that there were no opportunities in Australia but that I should do a degree or diploma in mechanical engineering. Through 1947 I was a cadet engineer with an engineering consultant in Martin Place (Sydney) and studying for my diploma.
At the end of 1947, I found a book in a Sydney bookstore titled ‘Industrial Design‘ by an American writer Harold van Doren. I became very interested in industrial design and read all the American and European industrial design books and magazines.
Vocational guidance advised me that industrial design did not exist in Australia, but that I should seek employment in consumer products. In February 1948 I transferred my cadetship to Email Limited and became their industrial designer.
Immediately, the Managing Director of Email found that he didn’t like the pressure control knob on a wringer style washing machine. It was my job to fix it. I showed him drawings and models... that was my first design project. Next there were fans, refrigerators, stoves and so on.
In 1951, I finished my Email cadetship and diploma, and then started a two-year certificate in Design and Colour at the East Sydney Technical College. (I was fortunate to have been taught by Phyllis Schillito, a very famous designer).
What qualifications did you have to write the article?
Prior to starting my own consultancy in January 1967, I was Product Planning and Design Manager at Email Ltd, Consumer Products Division for ten years. During this time I was given two trips to the USA to study ‘design methods’ at all five Westinghouse USA Design Centres. (Email was a licensee of the Westinghouse Corporation).
I had also worked in product design at the Ford Motor Company, Avro Aircraft and Massey Ferguson tractors, so I had some extensive experience to draw on.
In the early 1960s I was asked by the Industrial Design Council of Australia to give a series of lectures to manufacturers in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide called ‘Design for Mass Production’. These lectures created interest and were reported widely, not only in trade journals, but also by newspapers.
In 1968 I was approached by Horwitz Publications to convert the lecture into an illustrated feature we called ‘Product Planning and Design’.
The design examples shown are from my Email Ltd experience together with some of my earlier clients, Crane, Primus, Pongrass, Hanimex, Victa and Union Carbide.
What response did you get from the article?
The article appeared in the magazine ‘Design Australia’ only eighteen months after I had started my own consulting business and it generated inquiries from manufacturers. I would leave copies at potential client interviews. This proved particularly helpful when competitively pitching against two or three other design companies. Field officers of the IDCA also used the article to explain industrial design to industry.