A Teaching Model for Concept Development.
Randy Bartlett, IDSA, associate professor |Auburn University
Douglas Ritterling, IDSA, director of industrial design, Emerson Tool Company
By all accounts, Freelan Oscar Stanley was an industrious man with brilliant intellect. Born a decade prior to the Civil War, Freelan (known as F.O.) and his twin brother, Francis (known as F.E.) were itinerant inventors. Together they created a revolutionary photographic emulsion which they sold to Eastman Kodak. The brothers used the proceeds to design the Stanley Steamer— the premier steam powered automobile of the early twentieth century. When F.O.’s health began to deteriorate from tuberculosis, he moved to Estes Park Colorado and built the very successful Stanley Hotel which was open during summers only and was later featured in Stephen King’s “The Shining.”
F.O. Stanley was a practicing industrial designer at least a decade before the discipline was named. He also possessed a keen sense of timing-his businesses and technologies thrived under his ownership, but usually failed after being sold. F.O. had an uncanny ability to see the technological horizon where most others of the day did not. He was able to stay on the forefront of technology and avoid being felled by disruptive technologies.The Stanley brothers’ photographic emulsion was their longest
lasting invention—it remained a core technology for nearly a century before being displaced by digital imaging. Eastman Kodak foresaw the changing technology tide rolling in and survived the digital transition; Polaroid Corporation did not and became a victim of disruption.