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From 1961: Modern living the Motorola way

Created in 1961, the lavish, full-color ads from Chicago’s own Motorola show a fanciful and slightly futuristic lifestyle.

SHARE From 1961: Modern living the Motorola way

A little late-night rambling on the computer has unearthed these gems: A set of lavish 1960s ads from Chicago’s own Motorola.

Created in 1961, the full-color ads show a fanciful and slightly futuristic lifestyle — with a moderately lounge-tiki vibe. The ads ran in magazines such as LIFE and depicted people living and dancing in soaring spaces and wildly impossible interiors where palm trees, shag rugs, exposed stone and rippling exotic waters were never more than a few paces away.

And neither were Motorola products. The company was once a full-fledged maker of consumer electronics, particularly at midcentury, churning out console stereos, radios, hi-fis, televisions and more, made in a plant at 4545 West Augusta Boulevard.

But that’s the past. Now, the future:

Here a family watches a Space Age television set in a circular cabinet that is mounted on the floor and ceiling. Notice how the white shag rug has a special hole cut in it to accommodate the TV. Ask not how they got the rug around the floor mount; ask why they are still watching black & white TV when Motorola made color televisions as early as 1954:


A Motorola console stereo (much like the one the couple in the first image has) is wrapped with a bow to the left of the image, making the perfect gift. That levitating staircase is wicked:


A pool and exercise room, attached to what looks to be a wood-paneled version of Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House:


And lastly, my favorite. An underwater home with Junior swimming by the rec room window as Mom and Dad catch the baseball game — again, in black and white — on TV:


The ads are the work of illustrator, artist and photographer Charles Schridde, who according to his bio, received a scholarship to attend the School of the Art Institute when he was 14. Schridde died in 2011.

You can see more of these images at Retronaut.

Correction: This post has been corrected to indicate that artist Charles Schridde passed away in 2011.

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