The collection
Iron, Sterling Streamline, Model no. SA-4344

Iron, Sterling Streamline, Model no. SA-4344

Designed by
Steel, enameled and chromium-plated steel, Bakelite, lacquered wood
Produced by
Chicago Electric Manufacturing Company, Chicago, Illinois
13 x 22 x 11 cm

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Liliane and David M. Stewart Collection, gift of Eric Brill, 2010.1828

In the late eighteenth century, early pressing irons were made of heavy iron (hence their name) and used in pairs, one heating on a stove while the other was being used. By the turn of the century, irons were electrified and made of steel, which was easier and lighter for the user.

The steel body was tear drop in shape—both the classic form for an iron and the characteristic form of streamlining. The gracefully arched heat-proof Bakelite handle protected the user from heat, and chrome plating made the metal shine. The heat control was especially important for the new synthetic fabrics at the time, like nylon and rayon, which had to be pressed at much lower temperatures than natural fibers.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, photo: Denis Farley.