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Deutsches Technikmuseum - May

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The Websites of the donation Stiftung Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin at a glance:

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The donation contains six locations:

Exhibit of the Month May 2017

Photo: There are two back-to-back highly polished rectangular plates that can be separated by squeezing two wooden blocks that are attached to clamps on the plates. This construct is attached to a wooden handle that has an electric cord coming out of it.

This device promised to make a razor-sharp crease in just one minute. © SDTB/ Photo: C. Kirchner

Trouser Presser from the Company Horolac, 1930 - 35

The origins of the straight crease allegedly goes back to drenched trousers worn by the future English King Edward VII (1841-1910) during a sporting event. In order to dry them, the pants were placed between two wooden boards - and the result was the first crease.

Edward was so pleased by this new style that he showed up at the awards ceremony wearing the creased pants.

Whether this story is true remains uncertain. But there is no doubt that the crease had become widespread in men’s fashion by the end of the 19th century. Evidence for its rising popularity can be found in fashion magazines as early as 1893. The crease succeeded in giving trousers a leaner and improved fit. Today, suit pants without a crease would be unthinkable.

Photo: Representation of a trouser presser being put to use. Dark trousers hang on a clamp trousers hanger. The trousers are being held by an upper hand while a lower hand operates the presser which is clamped around the trousers

The trouser presser being put to use. © SDTB/ Photo: C. Kirchner

The electric iron - pioneer of the crease

Before the electric iron came into use a hundred years ago, ironing was a sweaty, strenuous and toilsome task. The previous 1000 years had seen the development of various techniques and tools for smoothing textiles: They were pressed, rolled and worked on with up to ten-kilo flatirons that were filled with hot charcoal or slabs of metal.

It seems no mere coincidence that the crease became pervasive at a time when ironing work had become easier through the common use of electric irons. The model from the company Horolac displayed here was ready-to-use in less than a minute and could even iron in a crease while the pants were being worn. Whether this often led to burn injuries is unfortunately not recorded.

In any case, the apparatus never really enjoyed much success.