In 1973, “Portable World” opened at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York City. The exhibition observed and showcased our mobile society, with the objects included designed for mobility: flexible and portable, but not necessarily permanent. “Portable World” demonstrated the increasing need for portable possessions such as personal effects, kitchen utensils, cleaning equipment, and shelters.
Portable food was a popular topic. George Washington’s campaign chest from 1783 had glass and pewter cooking and eating utensils. The Pac-A-Pic (1973) was a plastic bento-style picnic set with stacking food trays. The pictured Bomba Set (1972) was a melamine stacking picnic set for four, manufactured in Germany.
The Bomba Set was designed by Helen von Boch and Federigo Fabbrini for German manufacturer Villeroy & Boch. This set is 15.5 inches tall and 10 inches in diameter when assembled. There are settings for four, including serving dishes, for a total of 41 pieces. The fork and the spoon have a slot to wrap and nest with the knife. Each soup bowl rests inside a plate when assembled. According to the U.S. patent and accompanying diagrams:
The present invention consists in a set of different dinner-ware articles adapted to be stacked to form a portable unit with the improvement that the stacked dinner-ware articles abut in a horizontal cross-section of the unit substantially exclusively near its periphery on a respective underlying article, means being provided for safeguarding the articles against lateral sliding, and peripheral parts of the articles being shaped to form a substantially closed shell of the unit which has a compact shape.
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