Goods Inspiration

Happy Birthday, George Nelson


George Nelson

Today, anyone who has a Bubble Lamp (and there are a lot of you) or tells the time with a Ball Clock  has reason to celebrate. 104 years ago this day, the designer of these iconic pieces (and many more), George Nelson, was born.

Nelson was one of the founders of modernism in America. In the 1940s through the 1960s, as design director for Herman Miller, he collaborated with many other famous designers of the mid-century modern era–Charles and Ray Eames, Isamu Noguchi, and so on.

Ball Clock by George Nelson

To say that this was a very fruitful period for Nelson is something of an understatement. In addition to a wide range of furniture for Herman Miller, he conceived his line of signature George Nelson clocks for Howard Miller and developed the innovative spray polymer process for his bubble lamps.

Nelson’s mark on modern design continues to be deep and widespread. Perhaps some credit is due “Mad Men.” Or it could just be the renewed desire for design that’s simple, beautiful and well-made–hallmarks of the mid-century modern design philosophy. Either way, Nelson’s  designs endure, icons of both the past mid-century and this one.

Happy Birthday, George!


An original Ball Bubble Pendant in the Eames House (photo courtesy of


Saucer Bubble Lamps; Maison Glissade, Collingwood, Ontario, Canada (photo by Peter A. Sellar / photoKLIK)


Pear Bubble Lamp with Stand; Edgewater, Chicago (photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy)

You can always shop George Nelson products at

About the author



As the Content Marketing Manager for YDesign Group, Nissa has been writing about lighting, furniture and decor for many years. Considering that there's always something new out there, she'll likely write about them for many years more. She loves all things modern design, especially those designs that reinterpret classic forms in cool, imaginative ways. If she had her way, she'd spend all her money on such pieces (and wine).

1 Comment

Leave a Comment