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Silver Streak Iron, ca. 1946

This is a Iron. It is dated ca. 1946 and we acquired it in 2015. Its medium is molded and emulsion-painted pyrex glass, cast and nickel-plated steel, molded phenolic plastic resin and rubber, fabric (cord). It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

Cooper Hewitt's extensive collection of irons represents a major portion of its industrial design collection. Not only do they connect , through their function, product design with the world of textiles, the advancement of the design relates to the technological possibilities of Pyrex glass. The metal shortages of World War II led to experiments with other materials, including Pyrex. Known to resist high heat since 1915, Pyrex was an excellent material for handles, to stay comfortable to the touch, and be comfortable when used. It could be molded to conform to the grip of the hand, an early example of ergonomics. The use of bright color, probably related to "fun"-bright red as well as the blue seen here created a distinctive look that turned out to be vulnerable to changes in taste, and the iron had a short-lived production. This streamlined and ergonomic model shows the post-war era concentration on enhancing designs for domestic life.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled Iron, Meet Glass.

This object was donated by George R. Kravis II. It is credited Gift of George R. Kravis II.

  • American Beauty Iron
  • metal, plastic, rubber, electrical components.
  • Gift of Mel Byars.
  • 1991-59-167
  • Travel Iron (Denmark)
  • cast metal, molded plastic, fabric (cord).
  • Museum purchase from Eleanor G. Hewitt Fund.
  • 1998-9-1
  • Model 28 Vacuum Cleaner
  • bakelite (tm), cloth, metal.
  • Gift in honor of Erma E. Heagy by Edna M. Gingrich.
  • 1996-120-1-a/k

Our curators have highlighted 8 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

  • Pitcher
  • mold-blown glass.
  • Gift of Elizabeth and Lee Ainslie.
  • 2012-25-1
  • Sunbeam Mixmaster Mixer
  • chrome-plated metal, molded glass, molded plastic.
  • Museum purchase from Decorative Arts Association Acquisition Fund.
  • 1993-150-1-a/h

Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 13.8 x 9.8 x 23 cm (5 7/16 x 3 7/8 x 9 1/16 in.)

It has the following markings

Impressed on top side of metal heel: [in script] "Silver Streak" (2) Impressed on bottom side of metal heel: "SAUNDERS SINCE 1858 / MODEL 1038 / 1000 WATTS / 110-120 VOLTS A.C. ONLY" (3) Molded in Pyrex below handle: "PYREX"

Cite this object as

Silver Streak Iron, ca. 1946; molded and emulsion-painted pyrex glass, cast and nickel-plated steel, molded phenolic plastic resin and rubber, fabric (cord); H x W x D: 13.8 x 9.8 x 23 cm (5 7/16 x 3 7/8 x 9 1/16 in.); Gift of George R. Kravis II; 2015-5-12

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibitions Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color and Making Design.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Silver Streak Iron, ca. 1946 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=9 August 2022 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>