Coleman Sellers (1827-1907)

  • Coleman Sellers II
  • U.S. Patent #US31357-1 Kinematoscope

As chief designer for William Sellers & Co. he advanced a new theory of design independent of historical sources. “We find that a new order of shapes, founded on the uses to which they are to be applied and the nature of the material of which they are made, have been adopted and the flaunting colors the gaudy stripes and glittering gilding has been replaced by this one tint, the color of the iron upon which it is painted.” His firm’s theory that a machine is right if it looks right forms a direct segue to Louis Sullivan’s “Form ever follows function.” After he retired as chief engineer for William Sellers & Co. he moved on to a practice as a consulting engineer, designing the dynamos that harnessed Niagara Falls. © George E. Thomas