Gene Hurwitt

Designer New York / United States

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Gene Hurwitt 0
Gene Hurwitt
Gene Hurwitt
Gene Hurwitt

Gene Hurwitt (1906-1988) founded AMAC in 1960. It's first product, a small plastic pharmacy container became a design icon and have been stocked in New York's MoMA since1966. Gene Hurwitt started his first business at the height of the Depression, with little more than an idea and the generosity of a stranger. As he rode a streetcar one day, he shared his idea with a man sitting next to him: a fur cleaning business that would cater to San Francisco department stores. Gene was an accomplished storyteller, engaging and electrifying. At the end of the trip, the stranger offered to finance the business. He told the man he couldn't possibly accept - there was no way to be sure he'd ever get a dime back. "Someday, you'll be in a position to help somebody else out, and you will. That singular gesture got Gene Hurwitt started in business. But more importantly, it strengthened his conviction that one could succeed by simply living one's life wtih honesty and integrity. After nearly three decades in the fur business, Gene was ready for something different. In 1960, he bought a failing plastics factory in Sausalito, California, with the goal of turning it around and selling it. After less than a year, he knew he could never sell, and soon started looking for something new to manufacture with this fascinating material called plastic. One of his first products was a simple plastic box for the pharmaceutical industry. They were square, so they could be stacked on store shelves, and transparent, so the packaged product could easily be seen. It was also an elegant expression of modernist simplicity, stripped of adornment, and almost invisible except for its utility. One size and shape begot others, and AMAC's reputation for quality and service began to grow.