The Penguin Donkey

The (first) Donkey
Designed by Egon Riss and Jack Pritchard
Manufactured by Isokon, London, 1939
birch plywood

The owner of Penguin books was so impressed with The Donkey bookcase he offered free advertising in his paperbacks. The Donkey was later renamed The Penguin Donkey, which happens to hold 80 Penguin paperbacks quite nicely.

Photo from V&A archive [vam.ac.uk]


  1. nice, but though I'd feel slightly guilty about it, I would probably throw my straw wrapper in the middle.

  2. These are actually still in production - I've got the UK vendor info but haven't yet gotten these up on our site...

    mark at sparkability

  3. Mark, You should stock the Donkey Mark 2, designed by Ernest Race in 1963 to be more "modern" and easier to manufacture. It also would fit in with a Netto or Oeuf nursery setup.

    There's something a little sad about re-issued and re-made plywood pieces. I don't think the first Donkey holds up to reproduction. The finish on the plywood just looks cheap, especially for £500.