John G. Rideout Magnalite Tea Kettle 1936

  • Not on view

To counter faltering sales during the Great Depression, more adventurous manufacturers began to employ outside design consultants and invest in materials research. In the 1800s the Wagner Manufacturing Company had built a reputation for traditional cast-iron cookware, but in the early 1930s it introduced Magnalite, a patented magnesium/aluminum alloy. Rideout, one of a new generation of American industrial designers, was brought in to rework the appearance of the company's housewares, including this teakettle. His efforts, however, were focused on aesthetics more than functionality: the kettle's lid is semipermanently attached and may only be removed by first detaching the handle with a screwdriver.

Gallery label from Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen, September 15, 2010-March 14, 2011.
Manufacturer
Wagner Mfg. Co., Sidney, OH
Medium
Magnalite and lacquered wood
Dimensions
8 1/2 x 9 13/16" (21.6 x 25 cm)
Credit
Purchase fund
Object number
254.1944
Department
Architecture and Design

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