Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

The Grip family

June 13, 2021

Easy and the Dr., bringing help to the manually afflicted. As I become less and less able to hold onto objects, lift them, use tools and utensils, open jars and bottles, and so on — no longer able to coordinate small muscles or summon the strength for many everyday actions, and obliged to endure considerable pain to accomplish the things I can manage —  I have come to rely on Easy Grip utensils and tools from the OXO company and on the Dr. Grip pens from the Pilot company, with their thick bodies and slightly flared front ends.

The Dr. has been a friend of mine since I suffered significant ulnar nerve damage in my right arm in 2003 — damaging or disabling various muscles in my right hand, so that I had to switch as much as I could to my left hand (but handwriting was unswitchable, so that unless I wrote very slowly and carefully, even I often couldn’t decipher the result); and leaving me with constant low-grade pain in that arm and hand, with occasional sharp strikes of electric pain. There wasn’t much to do about that pain, but I could improve my handwriting with well-designed pens from the Dr.

Then, in a separate development, osteoarthritis advanced upon me, appearing in different joints on different days, sometimes with crippling pain. More recently, it has settled pretty much constantly in the joints of my hands, both hands, sometimes making them red and swollen and painful to the touch. Most recently, two fingers on my left hand have developed trigger finger, in which the finger gets locked in a bent position and will release, painfully, with a pop. Dr. Grip has become even more significant in my life, and I’m now appealing to Easy Grip more and more just to manage simple tasks.

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pruners

March 29, 2021

Another chapter in the design of everyday objects — objects crafted to perform their functions well, and to provide pleasure to the user or the viewer. The occasion is the early summer sprucing up of my front patio, just outside the big windows by the table where I work, providing me, during my long months in pandemic isolation, with the visual satisfactions of a substantial container garden and temptations for birds and squirrels (and, alas, a small but tenacious colony of roof rats).

Now it is finally both warm and usually dry, and I’m mostly recovered from my reactions to the Pfizer vaccine: notably, an unfortunate interaction — twice — between the vaccine and my osteoarthritis that caused many of the finger joints on my right hand to swell painfully, making that hand virtually unusable.

But now I can begin coping with the mess that the patio has become, including trimming and pruning the plants, cutting out the old wood, and chopping up the plants that have died. So I discover that my secateurs, or pruning shears, had gotten exposed to our rainy season and needed replacing. With an object much like this excellent tool from the local Ace Hardware:


(#1) Ace anvil pruners

On anvil vs. bypass pruners, see below. But first, on the terms secateurs, pruning shears, and pruners.

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Annals of everyday objects: Anchor ovenware

December 26, 2018

A continuing series on well-designed everyday objects: serving their function well, handsome to look at. In this case, a piece of cobalt blue Anchor ovenware, a square baking dish 8 x 8 x 2.25 in. (2 qt. capacity). Seen here posed on top of another well-designed object, a Blueair air purifier (the top, or exhaust, surface, with a rayed pattern of circular holes):

(#1)

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Smart Design

May 10, 2018

The title of Joost Swarte’s cover for the May 14th New Yorker:

(#1)

Some instances of smart design, in two superimposed inverted worlds. Plus the light bulb of inspiration, and the initials AZ (to which my attentional mechanisms are exquisitely attuned, so that the AZ was the first thing I focused on when I looked at the cover).

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The cheese grater

May 1, 2018

Deployed in my kitchen yesterday to grate cheese, the plastic Mouli Grater:

(#1)

A wonderful piece of design: elegantly simple, useful, surprisingy sturdy (for a plastic tool), safe (no more skinned knuckles or fingertips), ambidextrous, adjustable (the high-end model comes with cylinders in three different grating sizes), and, in the plastic version, cheery.

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