Atomic Design

Mid-Century Design Under A Nuclear Cloud

The 1940’s unleashed the power of the Atom. The Atomic Age was born.

Although we built fallout shelters as children practiced the “duck and cover drill” under desks, surprisingly, in the 1950’s at least, we were optimistic about the power of the atom. Not only would it make conventional explosives obsolete, Nuclear Power was expected to replace all oil and gas power plants, irradiated food would be safer, nuclear medicine would make us healthier, and even nuclear power cars would roar down highways.

The fascination with the atom influenced art, cartoons, furniture design, and even toys in the 50’s and 60’s. Remember the Atom Ant cartoon? Nope? Like Yancey he was small, but fierce, and he rocked the atom! Atomic influences are still alive and well in design today.

From a design perspective, I like the idea of using the atom as a muse. The original muse for me was a company in the Magic City called Atomic TV, which has a great authentic Mid-Century logo. Way cool!

I don’t know how it will play out in our designs, but I wanted to do a little research to see what was out there in terms of Atomic Design. What follows is sketch of the impact of the Atomic Age on Mid-Century life and design.

Hope you enjoy!

Shine on! Braxton

The dangerous effects of nuclear explosions were little understood at the time.

The "Duck and Cover" drill. I remember doing this at school.

Mid-Century pamplet on survival.

Doomsday clock. Cool design. Created by a team of scientists to dramatize the danger. It moves closer to Nuclear midnight as events unfold.


Definitely Atomic inspired down to the atom feet.

Atomic table art

Mid-Century Atomic age plastics! Cute.

Atom inspired bowls. Dig the color blast inside.

Atomic science kit for the kids!

Another Atomic Age classic. Love the color and the sleek, streamlined Nuclear Submarine shape and styling

Atomic chair. Bauhaus?

Atomic inspired Danish Modern Lamp

Atomic age cutie.

Definitely atomic.