Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Norman Bel Geddes (American, 1893-1958)
Model of Wenner-Gren Yacht
Ca. 1934
Mixed media

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Norman Bel Geddes Database

Job 302, Wenner-Gren Yacht, 1934-1955

Summary: In designing a yacht for the Swedish industrialist Axel Wenner-Gren, Bel Geddes streamlined its superstructure, which posed a problem for the yacht’s lifeboats. They are typically stored on the ship’s open top deck where they can be easily lowered over its sides. But by replacing the ship’s traditional slanted sides for a fully enclosed superstructure, Geddes was forced to design a mechanism (which he patented) that could expel the lifeboats and launches from within the yacht.

Although the practicality of Geddes’s design was attested to by several naval architects and marine engineers, Wenner-Gren was slow to move forward with construction. A statement in the Geddes archive suggests that the partially-constructed yacht was confiscated by the German government at the start of World War II.

In 1955 Geddes proposed a Bahamas resort development to Wenner-Gren.


(click image for description)

Box/Location Folder Description
box 16 302.1 Correspondence 1934-1938.
box 16 302.2 Description of Design for steel Diesel Yacht, 1934. 2 Patent drawings. Patent 1938.
box 16 302.3 Patent application & correspondence 1935-1939.
box 16 302.4a Presentation Book --- Preliminary Study of a Yacht, 1934, with 35 pages of text, 10 photostats of drawings, and 9 photographs of model (copy 1 of 2, disbound).
box 16 302.4b Presentation Book --- Preliminary Study of a Yacht, 1934, with 11 photostats of drawings, 9 photographs of model, and 1944 file department receipt (copy 2 of 2, bound).
flat box 6 302.1 Presentation Book with 8 mounted photographs of model.
flat file 302.1 5 Drawings of deck plans and section, 10 photostats.
flat box 6 302.2 8 Photostats of drawings.
box 16 302.5 Photograph Record Copy Book captions.
box 16 302.6 Photograph captions. 2 photostats of drawings, 2 of clipping.
object 302.1a Model of yacht (35 3/4 x 9 x 11 inches).
object 302.1b Model parts (including three launches), housed with fake "ocean" made by Exhibition Services staff for display.
photo box 7 302.1-2 36 Photographs of model.
negative box 4 302.1a 14 Negatives.
negative box 42 302.1b 14 Negatives (continued). [nitrate]
box 16 302.7 Publicity --- Writing. Transcripts of clippings ca. 1934-1946.
box 16 302.8 Publicity --- Clippings 1935-1942.
oversize box 7 302.1-2 Publicity --- Clippings 1937-1939.
flat file 302.2 Publicity --- Clipping 1942. 2 Photostats.
box 16 302.9 Data --- Brochures, reports, memo.
box 17 302.10 Correspondence 1955 re Andros Island resort development.
box 17 302.11 Andros Island --- correspondence, memo, brochures, clipping.
box 17 302.12 Andros Island --- Andros Reserve (Jamaica - New York File) - Memo, letter sent, clippings 1955.
oversize box 7 302.3 Clipping 1955.

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