The highlight of Rolfdieter Schiedrum’s career as a designer was probably when in 1970 he won a prestigious international design award for the Buderus-Elektrowärme-Speicherheizkessel (the Buderus Electrically-Heated Storage Boiler). Nobody at that time knew that he had a parallel interest in erotic drawing, and it was only after his death that a portfolio of more than fifty imaginative and highly competent images came to light. Now this portfolio is better known than the Elektrowärme-Speicherheizkessel, and places Schiedrum in context as the German equivalent of the English artist Tom Poulton. Erotic drawing was in truth his main joy in life, and it is estimated that he probably produced more than thirty thousand of them altogether.
Rolfdieter Schiedrum grew up in Cologne, and when he left school studied applied graphics in Bad Kreuznach. His father was Director of the Cologne Chamber of Crafts and his mother a carpet designer, so his route into industrial design was to some extent preordained, and he worked in the design department at the prestigious Buderus Eisenwerke in Wetzlar for many years. Projects he worked on included boilers and radiators, air conditioning systems, sanitary castings, heating and cooking devices, washing machines, large-scale laboratory systems, and aircraft kitchens.
When selections of the drawings began to appear on the market it took a while for the artist’s identity to become widely known, so some appeared as the work of ‘Mister O’. Now we know about Schiedrum’s secret passion we can share the flights of erotic fantasy (and were they all just fantasy?) that he followed in the heady 1960s and 70s and onwards into his retirement.