Between Terminals C and D
July 16, 2010 - February 14, 2011

For nearly three decades, Philadelphia area collector Jay Raymond has been fascinated by streamlined irons - he has collected and studied them since the 1980's. In 2008, Raymond published Streamlined Irons, a book that surveys these uniquely designed clothes irons manufactured between the 1930's and 1940's. Like aircraft, streamlined irons were based on the principles of aerodynamics - they were shaped to enhance the flow of air around them, increasing their ability to move more efficiently. It is their purposeful design and resulting aesthetic that made streamlined irons different from irons that preceded them. As Raymond wrote in his book, "Prior to the 1930's, there were definite design trends, but none yet figured in the design of irons. Electric iron manufacturers had so far virtually ignored the Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts and Art Deco styles that heavily influenced other design areas such as furniture making. But this all began to change in 1934, when General Electric introduced the Moderne." Although part Art Deco and part streamlined, the Moderne represented, for the first time, an iron that was designed to be visually appealing and reflective of modern aesthetics.

Clothing irons are useful tools that are often overlooked as ordinary. Today, streamlined irons are rare, many are one-of-a-kind. Raymond's book and this exhibition of selected streamlined irons pay homage to a short-lived design phenomenon within the electric iron industry where beauty, artistry, and function were equally considered.