W. Dorwin Teague, 94; Invented Dentist Chair and the Cash Register

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

W. Dorwin Teague, 94, an industrial designer and the inventor of such ordinary items as the cash register and bicycle brakes, died Sept. 16 in Carbondale, Ill., of natural causes associated with age.

Born in New York, Teague studied engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology but left after two years to work in the design firm of his father, Walter Dorwin Teague Sr. Although the father took credit for the design, the son did much of the work on the Marmon 16 automobile the company manufactured before the Depression put Marmon Motor Car Co. out of business.

Though his father and contemporary industrial designers had concentrated on the look of useful items, young Teague preferred to work on what made an object function. After a decade with Bendix Aviation, he formed Dorwin Teague Inc.

In addition to the cash register, for National Cash Register Co., he designed the mimeograph machine for A.B. Dick, can openers, rockets and a water-powered toothbrush.


Perhaps his most appreciated project was his revolutionary dentist chair -- the now ubiquitous reclining chaise longue replacing the old-style barber chair.