Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Stelton coffee pot, Arne Jacobsen, 1967

Following on from my recent blog post about Arne Jacobsen’s alarm clock, this week I am focusing on another object from MoDiP’s collections designed by him: the Cylinda-Line coffee pot from Danish tableware manufacturer Stelton. This sleek, stainless-steel range has contrasting, decorative phenol formaldehyde handles, aptly demonstrating this material’s heat resistance properties.

AIBDC : 008681
Image credit: Katherine Pell

Jacobsen’s stepson, Peter Holmblad, was employed as the Export Manager for Stelton in 1963. He wanted to modernise the company and as part of this, he tried to capture the interest of his stepfather in helping him design a new product line. Without success, he attempted his own design of a lidded bowl which Jacobsen could not resist in perfecting. Together they went on to develop the Cylinda-Line range of simple, hollow cylindrical forms: the iconic shape and name being attributed to Holmblad, whilst the styling was Jacobsen.

Early sketches of the teapot and the coffee pot – note the change in the handle design.
Image credit: (left) (right)

Beginning with a drawing on a napkin at a family dinner, once the design had been approved, prototype models were made out of wood and the Stelton production team then collaborated with Danish Steel for manufacture. Three years of intensive development followed as the original idea of using steel tubes and then welding on the base proved too expensive for mass production. New techniques and machinery had to be invented and the design modified to what was actually possible to recreate (note the different handle in the two drawings above).

Arne Jacobsen introducing the new tableware at an exhibition in 1967
Image credit:

Unlike anything else seen on the market at the time of launch in 1967, at first the cocktail and tableware collection did not sell well: Holmblad recalls asking his mother and sister to order items in order to boost sales. However, later that year Cylinda-Line was awarded the Danish Society of Industrial Design ID prize and the following year the International Design Award by the American Institute of Interior Designers. By 1970, Stelton had had to expand to meet with international demand and the range is still available to buy today, now widely considered a design classic.

Close-up of the plastics handle
Image credit: Katherine Pell

Katherine Pell
Collections Officer



Hackney, Rod. (1972). Arne Jacobsen: Architecture and Fine Art. Leonardo. Vol. 5 No. 4. pp. 307–313 (online). Accessed 8 July 2021.

Tøjner, P. E. and Vindum, K. (1999). Arne Jacobsen. Architect & Designer. Danish Design Centre, Copenhagen. pp. 110-112 (online){C53C6B51-8796-4EAA-B837-4B2AC161D6ED}

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for the historical information on the Stelton Cylinda range. We carry some of the line in our design shop Studio Brillantine in Toronto and the [new] extra knowledge on this iconic tabletop line is a treat !