Shaping Modernity: Design 1880-1980
December 23, 2009–ongoing
The Ohio-based Hobart Manufacturing Company widely distributed the Streamliner, which they described as "a medium-sized Slicer suitable for the average Market, Delicatessen, Kitchen, Sandwich Shop, and the like." Patented in 1949, the design—including a "StaySharp" stainless steel blade driven by a Bakelite gear, a two-stone sharpener, and a proprietary motor—was a collaboration between Arens, an industrial designer, and his employee Brookhart. Manufacture was delayed for several years due to the scarcity of aluminum during World War II, but the Streamliner ultimately proved successful, with almost 100,000 made between 1944 and 1985. Its name refers to the aesthetic practice pre-valent in 1930s American design of giving static objects aerodynamic form. In this case the rounded surfaces of the slicer are central to its function, eliminating crevices where food might get stuck and facilitating cleaning.