The next time the gravy on your circular tray wanders into your lettuce, you can blame the modern design of the new Graduate Center north of the Yard. The architects of the center helped to perfect the new trays as the finishing touch for the halls which opened last September.
Students at the Union have been complaining this week about the low separating partitions which have turned the trays into a failure. William A. Heaman, manager of the dining halls, admitted that there have been criticisms of this one tragic flaw, but added that many men have praised the efficient design of the new product.
Walter Gropius, professor of Architecture and chief designer of the Graduate Center, said that he believes these trays are the first of their kind. He said that he knew of no other closely similar trays elsewhere in the world.
The circular trays have already passed the testing stage and won the approval of the University officials, in spite of the shallow partitions. The old army mess trays have not been used at the Union this summer.
It would cost over $2,000 to make a new circular mold with higher partitions, Heaman reported. The dining halls have tried to serve "liquid items" like stewed tomatoes in separate small dishes to be carried on the trays, but students viewed this as inadequate. "This hasn't solved the gravy problem," one man noted yesterday.
Memories of pre-war days influenced the design of the circular trays, Heaman said. During this, period, students ate off plates and were served by waitresses. The high cost of food and labor makes a return to those days impossible.
But Heaman hailed the new trays as "coming nearer to china" than the plastic mess trays recently used or the metal ones from right after the war. He defended the shallowness of the trays, saying that regular china also lacked depth.
Conceding that there had been much preliminary discussion over the height of the partitions, he noted that the verdict had been that a deeper circular tray would be "more difficult to eat from."
"The final decision rested with the architects," Heaman said, "and Gropiue approved the design."
The sand color of the new trays was praised by Heaman for bringing out the natural color of the food and making it more appetizing than the brown-colored old ones did.