Streamlined and Sonic: The Harmonicas of John Vassos
In the late 1930s, and beginning again in the late 1940s, John Vassos was hired by Hohner to design harmonicas and accordions with his signature modernist and streamlined aesthetic, primarily aimed toward the American market. As I explored over forty drawings of harmonicas that Vassos made for Hohner, I was taken by how sleek these instruments looked compared to Hohner’s earlier, boxier counterparts. Vassos’ design drawings feature marks resembling air whooshing past his harmonicas—musical spacecraft traveling through the galaxy of his imagination. Norman Bel Geddes may have been the first to coin the term “streamlining” in the design world, but Vassos also utilized this concept in his drawings.