Phillip Powell 1919 –2008
Born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, in 1919, Phillip Lloyd Powell began crafting furniture during his teen years. After studying mechanical engineering at the Drexel Institute of Technology in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1939 – 1940) and then meteorology at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Illinois (1942), he began working as a meteorologist in Great Britain with the Army Air Corps.
In 1947 he moved to New Hope, Pennsylvania where he purchased an acre of land and began building his home. Inspired by George Nakashima and Wharton Esherick, Powell began developing his own designs in the early fifties, which he sold from his New Hope shop.
By 1953 he had moved his showroom to Mechanic Street, where he would create a line of lamps as well as slate-topped tables and chairs. His shop was open by appointment and from 8 pm until midnight on Saturdays when the Bucks County Playhouse theater crowd was wandering about town. He would make enough money from that one evening where the showroom could remain closed for the rest of the week.
Art Beat interview with Phillip Lloyd Powell in 1992, Suburban Cable, courtesy of the James A. Michener Art Museum Archives