Damsels in Design: Women Pioneers in the Automotive Industry, 1939–1959

Constance Smith

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In the mid-1950s, an innovative group of women at General Motors (dubbed the Damsels of Design by marketers) and their counterparts at Ford, Hudson, Studebaker, Packard, and Tucker changed automotive history forever. Read the untold story of the women who excelled in the Mad Men era of automobile and industrial design. Recruited by top CEOs at automotive companies, they developed many of the products we take for granted today. Learn about Helene Rother, who designed the instrument panel, hardware, and seat construction for midcentury Cadillacs; Elizabeth Thatcher Oros, the first female trained in industrial design; and discover the history behind the child safety seat latch and car doors with lights. An extraordinary story of exceptional women, Damsels in Design sheds light on those who have too long been in the shadows.

Size: 8 1/2" x 11" | 425 color and b/w images | 192 pp
ISBN13: 9780764354359

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Constance Smith has always been passionate about art, design and automobiles. When she was a teen, her father fought for her place in an all-male drafting class. Smith studied with Rowena Reed Kostellow and holds a BFA and MID from Pratt Institute. Before graduation, she was recruited by GM’s Charles Jordan, and her portfolio included models of an automobile and solid-state cooling compartment. After joining GM’s Advanced Studio, she explored state of the art electronics and the use of air bags. Smith has also served automobile franchises, schools, and Charles Pollock.