Throughout the 1870s, inventors sought to improve on the basic design. One featured a plunger system for mixing six tumblers at once; another had air vents. But none of these took. Then in 1884, Edward Hauck of Brooklyn patented the three-part metal shaker with a built-in strainer and a little top — a configuration that has remained essentially unchanged to this day. It came to be known as the cobbler shaker (the sherry cobbler, made of sherry, sugar, ice and orange or lemon, was among the most popular cocktails of the era). When stainless steel was invented in the early 20th century, it quickly became the shaker material of choice, an honor it continues to enjoy.
Why do we still have catalogues? Web and mobile browsers have improved dramatically in the past decade. It’s hard to argue that catalogues, like books, are objects worth preserving for their aesthetic value; they will be obsolete within months. Yet Americans received nearly twelve billion catalogs last year.
Marketers say that people who browse catalogues buy more than those who shop only online. The U.S. Postal Service works hard to promote catalogues, which have become an increasingly important segment of U.S.P.S. business as people mail fewer first-class letters. The online retailer Bonobos, which began shipping catalogues last year, told the Wall Street Journal that twenty per cent of its new Web customers placed orders after receiving their first mailings, and spent more than other new shoppers.
Those incremental sales are accompanied by enormous waste. Industry surveys from groups like the Direct Marketing Association estimate that catalogues get average response rates of four to five per cent. In the case of Restoration Hardware, that means that for every sixty thousand pages mailed, approximately three thousand pay off.
When Adobe Illustrator first shipped in 1987, it was the first software application for a young company that had, until then, focused solely on Adobe PostScript. The new product not only altered Adobe’s course, it changed drawing and graphic design forever.
Watch the Illustrator story unfold, from its beginning as Adobe’s first software product, to its role in the digital publishing revolution, to becoming an essential tool for designers worldwide. Interviews include cofounder John Warnock, his wife Marva, artists and designers Ron Chan, Bert Monroy, Dylan Roscover and Jessica Hische.