Skip to main content

Everett Worthington, Inc. records

1925-1938
 Collection
Accession: 2677

Abstract

The Everett Worthington Inc. records contain correspondence, purchase orders, design requests, and contractual letters. Clients include, but are not limited to, Stromberg-Carlson, Cincinnati Victor Company, Coca-Cola, Toastmaster, Story & Clark Piano Company, Gillette Safety Razor Company, Robert W. Irwin Company, Waterbury Clock Company and General Motors. Renderings, sketches and photographs detail completed projects. Chicago's 1933 A Century of Progress International Exposition, and the 1936 Great Lakes Exposition in Cleveland, Ohio are well represented. Everett E. Worthington was an industrial designer whose career began in 1915 in San Francisco, and continued in Chicago and New York City.

Dates

  • 1925-1938

Creator

Extent

5 Linear Feet

Historical Note

Everett Ellsworth Worthington (1890-1938) was a man in motion and detail driven. Born in Kentucky in 1890, by the age of 10 his family was living in Coupeville, Washington. The 1910 census lists Everett as 19 and working on his own account as a musician at the opera house in Bellingham, Washington. Everett's father was a carpenter. His early exposure to this craft, and his own interest in sound, made engineering and design a natural fit. He became an industrial designer who crossed many genres.

Worthington's interest in music and sound took him to San Francisco where in 1915 he began a career in industrial design working for the Victor Talking Machine Company. He supervised the installation of the Victor Temple at the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition, overseeing the construction of the Temple in Philadelphia, and its shipment to San Francisco. Success with this project, and praise in trade journals, made him well known throughout the radio and phonograph industries. The following year Worthington resigned from the Victor Company and began working for The Condon Autostop Company. The Autostop stopped the rotation of the turntable when the final groove of a record was played.

In 1920 Worthington was still in San Francisco with a wife and son and worked as a secretary in the mill work industry. By 1923 he was handling Pacific Coast sales for the radio company UNICO (Unit Construction Co.). He was a self taught acoustics expert who transformed the quality of sound for manufacturers of pianos, speakers, radios, and phonographs. Worthington filed a patent application in October 1924 for a design for a sound amplifier or similar article

Arrangement

Series I. Correspondence and Orders, is arranged alphabetically.

Series II. Financial, is arranged chronologically.

Series III. Portfolios, is arranged alphabetically.

Series IV. Photographs - loose, is arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Content

The records of Everett Worthington Inc. are particularly interesting because, unlike better known designers, his career spans the transition from earlier, more traditional design vocabularies to the post-1925 Art Deco style, with designs in wood, plastic, and metal. Worthington's influence at world's fairs and expositions across the United States from the 1910s through the 1930s familiarized consumers with streamlined beverage dispensers. Home goods - radio cabinets, clocks, and furniture - styled with exotic wood accents, to the intricate work in automotive interiors and trim wood work, are examples of his fine craftsmanship. The records are also important because they include billings and correspondence with the clients and photos depicting office practice and not merely photos and drawings of the objects themselves.

Correspondence and orders (1923-1938) contain contractual and retainer correspondence for Everett Worthington Inc.'s design services and includes purchase orders, requests, and requisition for payment requests. Clients include automobile companies such as Chrysler; clock making companies; decorators, Coca-Cola; furniture manufacturers; RCA-Victor, as well as other woodworking and merchandising firms.

Financial records (1927-1930) consist of purchase orders of various radio and phonograph manufacturers, furniture companies, and automobile manufacturers. The diverse use of KarVarT is also documented.

Portfolios (1925-1935) represent designs and projects that held great value for Worthington. He used these files when engaging new clients. His portfolios displayed his company's talent and capability and also served as a form of advertisement. This series includes sketches and photographs of Worthington’s designs such as toasters, store layouts, automobile interiors, radio cabinets, and Coca-Cola dispensers. There are also representations of his KarVarT process, including a catalog exhibiting architectural plywood panels and photographs depicting dies and presses used during the process.

Photographs (1933-1939) are largely undated, while the files themselves contain only a partial key to aid in identification. The photos demonstrate various aspects of Worthington’s design work and presentations, and range from Toastmasters and Gillette razors and talcum powder, to Coca-Cola designs, clocks, and radio cabinets.

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Additional Description

Provenance

The Everett Worthington Inc. records were donated to Hagley Museum and Library in 2016 by Warren and Leora Worthington.

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Everett Worthington Inc. records
Status:
Author:
Marsha Mills
Date:
2017
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin
Language of description note:
English

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA
302-658-2400