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‘Streamlined Irons’ Exhibit Heating Up PHL

Philadelphia area collector Jay Raymond has been collecting and studying streamlined irons since the 1980s. He published “Streamlined Irons” two years ago, which surveys the irons manufactured between the 1930s and 1940s, and many of the irons featured in the book are on display at an exhibit at Philadelphia International (PHL).

“It is fascinating to see all of these different clothing irons from days gone by,” says airport CEO Mark Gale. “This exhibit offers an interesting perspective into the evolution of a common household item.”

The streamlined irons were based on principles of aerodynamics, shaped to enhance the flow of air around them, which would increase their ability to move more efficiently. Such design is what differentiated them from irons that came before them.

“Prior to the 1930’s, there were definite design trends, but none yet figured in the design of irons,” Raymond wrote in his book. “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.”

The Moderne was part Art Deco and part streamlined, but it represented an iron that was created to be both visually appealing and reflective of modern aesthetics.

Streamlined irons are rare, and many are one of a kind. Raymond’ book and the exhibit of the same name honor the short-lived design phenomenon.

The exhibit can be found on the C/D walkway, post-security.

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