November 01, 2006
Cool, Cooler, Koolest!
With Day of the Dead coming up and all, I thought I'd take a brief moment to honor a woman I never met, and hadn't even heard of until I saw her obit in the Times this weekend. First of all, Petra Cabot lived 99 years. Good for her. That's hard-core living. Secondly, she was an artist, and I respect that. Thirdly (and most famously) she was the proud inventor of the Skotch Kooler, "the best-looking bucket anybody ever saw," as she put it. And she's right. It's a beautiful piece of work. And handy too, capable of toting around 4 gallons of your favorite liquid, and so well insulated it could keep ice cream frozen for 2 to 3 hours without ice! Petra's design first hit the market in 1952 and though there have been some technological advances in the last half-century no one has even come close to imagining a cooler kooler. You can still find these beauties at flea markets and on ebay, but make sure it's got her signature on it, otherwise it's just some shoddy knockoff. And (surprise, surprise) it just so happens that Petra worked with another personal hero of mine, Russel Wright, one of the key players in bringing modernism to the American masses back in the day. Our friends John & Conn recently visited Wright's house in upstate New York, check out their awesome blog Cuckoo for Coconuts for some dazzling pictures of the house and surrounding woods.