Technical objects are more than just practical tools. They shape our living environments and influence our everyday actions. The way objects are developed, marketed, appropriated and used has to do with wishes, expectations and projections.
Household appliances always give rise to promises, such as saving of time and effort, cleanliness or convenience. Brand names often back up these advertising promises: The “Super Soft Plus” epilator makes hair removal seem like a pain-free process and names like “Supermax” and “Tornado” make vacuum cleaners seem to have almost unlimited power. And pressure cookers do not just speed up the process of cooking, they make it “Rapido”, “Presto” and “Turbo”.
Company brochures and directions for use advertise the benefits of products and try to position them as symbols of progress and modernity. At the same time, they are a reflection of the times. Indeed, many of these product leaflets from the days when households were supplied with electricity for the first time – from the 1920s to the 1960s – and beyond that period are aimed specifically at “housewives”, sustaining conventional roles and social norms.
Featuring exhibits that are on display for the first time, the “Cherished – Praised – Unwanted” exhibition illuminates the interaction between the world of objects and our living environments in using household appliances. Find out what a ground-breaking innovation refrigerators once used to be and why the electric mascara brush did not establish itself.