See more objects with the tag tubular, metalwork, clock, asymmetrical.

Object Timeline

  • We acquired this object.


  • Work on this object began.



  • You found it!

Z Clock

This is a clock. It was designed by Gilbert Rohde. It is dated 1934. Its medium is bent chrome-plated tubular brass, enameled brass, plate glass. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

Rohde began designing clocks for Herman Miller after creating a distinctive line of clocks for the company in 1933 for the Chicago World Fair. This "Z Clock" (No. 4090) was pictured in the company’s 1934 catalogue, “20th Century Modern Furniture, Designed by Gilbert Rohde,” which was one of the first American trade catalogues devoted to modernist design.[1] Rohde used the No. 4090 as a complement to his modernist interiors in the catalogue. The zigzag tubular chrome-plated support of the clock echoes his tubular chair designs for the Troy Sunshade Company, which were also produced during the early- to mid-1930s. The minimalist form of this clock concentrates the eye on tubular steel, one of the great advancements and material markers of modernism. The outline of the clock shows reductive rigor and also energy in its angularity that celebrates the cantilever, frame, and suspension principles that tubular steel made possible.

[1] Phyllis Ross, Gilbert Rohde: Modern Design for Modern Living (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009), 122.

This object was donated by George R. Kravis II. It is credited Gift of George R. Kravis II.

Our curators have highlighted 3 objects that are related to this one.

  • M-1, Type B2 Clock
  • chromium-plated and enameled metal, molded bakelite, brushed-burnished silver.
  • Gift of George R. Kravis II.
  • 2015-41-1
  • Table Lamp
  • chrome-plated steel, brass.
  • Gift of George R. Kravis II.
  • 2015-41-11

Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 30.5 × 32 × 9 cm (12 in. × 12 5/8 in. × 3 9/16 in.)

Cite this object as

Z Clock; Designed by Gilbert Rohde (American, 1894–1944); bent chrome-plated tubular brass, enameled brass, plate glass; H x W x D: 30.5 × 32 × 9 cm (12 in. × 12 5/8 in. × 3 9/16 in.); Gift of George R. Kravis II; 2018-22-76

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Energizing the Everyday: Gifts From the George R. Kravis II Collection.

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

For higher resolution or commercial use contact ArtResource.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Z Clock |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=8 February 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>