Silver Streak

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Object Name: 
Pyrex Electric Iron
Title: 
Silver Streak
Accession Number: 
2013.4.31
Dimensions: 
Overall H: 13.6 cm, W: 22.7 cm, D: 9.9 cm
Location: 
Not on Display
Date: 
designed in 1942-1943
made in 1946
Web Description: 
A streamlined, Machine Age design, the “Silver Streak” iron has become an icon of mid-20th-century American design. The sleek form echoes the design of the Burlington Railroad’s famous stainless steel passenger train, called the Pioneer Zephyr, which set a new speed record and was featured in the 1934 movie The Silver Streak. The iron’s colorless, ergonomically shaped glass handle was seamlessly attached to the base. The iron was available in jewel-tone colors of red (for example, 2005.4.32), blue, green, amber, silver, and gold, colored with paint emulsion on the interior of the glass body. Metal shortages during World War II spurred innovative designs using alternative materials. The Corning Glass Works investigated substitutions of glass for metal, creating glass versions of such common items as thimbles, bullets, and coins. Heatresistant Pyrex borosilicate glass, developed in 1915 for bakeware, was ideal for an iron. Borosilicate glass blanks for the iron bodies, produced by Corning Glass Works, were sent to the Saunders Machine and Tool Corporation, which mounted the glass to chrome-plated metal sole plates and attached electrical dials and fittings. Sadly, the “Silver Streak” iron was not manufactured commercially until 1946, after the war had ended, and it was produced for only one year. Signed: “Pyrex,” molded on the glass body, and “Silver Streak / SAUNDERS SINCE 1858 / MODEL 1038,” engraved on the metal plate. Unpublished. For more information about the Corning Glass Works and streamlined design, see Margaret B. W. Graham and Alec T. Shuldiner, Corning and the Craft of Innovation, New York: Oxford University Press, 2001; and Richard Guy Wilson, Dianne H. Pilgrim, and Dickran Tashjian, The Machine Age in America, 1918–1941, New York: The Brooklyn Museum in association with Harry N. Abrams Inc., 1986.
Department: 
Provenance: 
Mantiques Modern, Source
2013-05-02
Inscription: 
PYREX
inscription
Molded relief on underside of body in glass
Silver Streak
inscription
Engraved on underside of metal in script
BELDEN / UL / CHICAGO / PAT. APP. FOR
inscription
Stamped on plug
OFF - ON -> RAYON SILK WOOL COTTON LINEN / LOW MED. HIGH
inscription
Stamped on dial
SAUNDERS SINCE 1858 / MODEL 1038 / 1000 WATTS / 110-120 VOLTS A.C. ONLY
inscription
Engraved on underside of metal
Primary Description: 
Pyrex Electric Iron, "Silver Streak". Colorless Pyrex borosilicate glass, blue paint emulsion, metal, plastic, electrical fittings, chrome-plated metal; mold-pressed glass, assembled. Iron with colorless glass body and handle, metal base, plastic dial, and fabric-covered electrical cord. Interior of glass body colored with blue paint emulsion. Model No. 1038.
100 Years of Pyrex (2015) illustrated, p. 13 (fig. 6); BIB# AI100137
The Corning Museum of Glass: Notable Acquisitions 2013 (2014) illustrated, p. 53 (#35);