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Kay Leroy Ruggles Umbo Corner Shelving Unit, Directional, Ivory Cream, 1972



Kay Leroy Ruggles Umbo corner shelving unit, directional, ivory cream, 1972 UMBO was published in New York magazine on September 25, 1972 and became a huge hit for Directional (although the patent was still pending at the time). Directional Industries produced a wide variety of modules (see last image); since UMBO was fully modular, it could be arranged and re-arranged at any time. UMBO was even available with a desk, dining table, bed frame or wall shelves module which made it perfect for small New York apartments. The wonderful configuration seen here was designed and put together by its original owner. It can be rearranged, expanded or divided to your liking. The ensuing energy crisis of 1973 marked the end of the era of cheap gasoline and, therefore, plastics. UMBO was out of production by 1974. Large inventive configurations in “white” that have aged together are highly sought after and quite rare. Kay Leroy Ruggles was a pioneer, inventor and entrepreneur throughout his long and successful career and won many awards and honors. He held numerous patents and designed and developed over 100 products in a wide range of industries, including automobile, space, furniture, window coverings, amusement park and musical instruments, to name only a few. These inventions include the tubular water slide and the invention of the integral sink/countertop out of cultured marble. When Richard Nixon wanted a new bathroom for Air Force One in 1969 it was Ruggles who got the job. Design us a bathroom with lots of mirrors and lights, the Boeing Co. told Ruggles, because the president has quite a 5 o'clock shadow and he needs to shave a lot. Eventually Hugh Hefner had a custom-designed Kay Ruggles rooms. So did Ted Kennedy. And Disney World.


  • Creator
    Kay Leroy Ruggles (Designer),Directional (Maker)
  • Dimensions
    Height: 89 in. (226.06 cm)Width: 87 in. (220.98 cm)Depth: 54 in. (137.16 cm)
  • Style
    Mid-Century Modern (Of the Period)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
  • Condition
    Wear consistent with age and use. Minor losses. Minor fading. Original condition. Age appropriate wear. UMBO sets in white invariably change color with time. Beware of sets that appear to be bright and uniform in color as they have been painted.
  • Seller Location
    Brooklyn, NY
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU4190323703162

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    Rates vary by destination and complexity.
    Ships From: Brooklyn, NY
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 1 day of delivery.

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About the Seller
5 / 5
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Platinum Seller
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Established in 2017
1stDibs seller since 2018
308 sales on 1stDibs
Typical response time: 1 hour
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