"Steam-O-Matic" Iron

"Steam-O-Matic" Iron

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
Electric iron. Heavy molded metal body (A), planished surface texture, temperature setting on top, metal panel printed with settings: “Selectrol/ON/LOW/RAYON/SILK/WOOL/COTTON/LINEN/HIGH/OFF”, molded plastic knob, black, debossed in white: “FAST/MEDIUM/SLOW”. Molded plastic handle, black, at top. Detachable electric cord (D) attaches at back, plastic plug, black, molded, with “ON/OFF” switch and “PEER/U.S.A.” logo and “5A.-250V./UND.LAB.INSP./10A-125V.” embossed on side, fabric-covered cord, two-prong plug, embossed with “CORNISH” logo. Winged metal knob (B) on body closes hole to add water for steam, poured through molded plastic funnel, black, (C), embossed with “STEAM-O-MATIC/WAVERLY TOOL CO”. Accompanying instruction manual (E), which notes that the original price for the iron was $18.95.
Attached metal tag on back of iron, red background, silver lettering: “STEAM-O-MATIC/U.S. PATENTS:2,178,512-2,279,179-2,338,739-OTHER PATS. PENDING/WATTS 1000 A.C. CURRENT ONLY VOLTS 120/SERIAL NO. 628947 MODEL B-300/MFD. BY WAVERLY PRODUCTS INC./SANDUSKY, OHIO BRIDGEPORT, CONN.”
2,178,512, October 31, 1939, Edward P. Schreyer, for “Electric iron and dampener”
2,279,179, April 7, 1942, Edward P. Schreyer, for “Electric iron and dampener”
2,338,739, Jan 11, 1944, Edward P. Schreyer, for “Steam iron”
Introduced in 1939 and marketed by the Steam-O-Matic Corporation, this iron is the first steam iron listed by Underwriters Laboratories. The streamlined body mimics that of a ship, demonstrating how influential modern architecture and transportation was on all aspects of design, including household appliances.
Maker is Waverly Products, Inc., originally founded as Rival Manufacturing Company in 1932, manufacturing small appliances in the U.S. under various names (Bionaire, Crock-Pot, Patton, Rival, to name a few). They became a subsidiary of Holmes Products Corporation in 1999, and are now a brand of Sunbeam products (a subsidiary of Jarden Corporation, which purchased Holmes Products Corp. in 2005).
Currently not on view
Object Name
flatiron, electric
date made
ca 1947
place made
United States: Ohio, Sandusky
United States: Connecticut, Bridgeport
Physical Description
aluminum (body; soleplate material)
wood (handle material)
paint (handle material)
plastic (Bakelite) (thermostat knob; cord connector; plug material)
cloth (cord material)
overall, body: 6 1/4 in x 10 3/4 in x 4 3/4 in; 15.875 cm x 27.305 cm x 12.065 cm
overall, cord, coiled: 1 7/8 in x 8 in x 3 3/4 in; 4.7625 cm x 20.32 cm x 9.525 cm
overall, funnel: 1 3/4 in x 1 5/8 in; 4.445 cm x 4.1275 cm
overall, booklet: 2 5/8 in x 3 3/4 in; 6.6675 cm x 9.525 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Anonymous Gift
Household Tools and Equipment
Household Tools and Equipment
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Domestic Life
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


FYI, I am surprised to not see the attribution of design to the famous industrial designer, Brooks Stevens. I believe his original design for this iron included that the "streamlining" sweep be clean and smooth, without the hammered appearance the rest of the surface exhibits. I have seen the Steam-O-Matic represented in a few of Steven's museum design exhibits, and verbal statements to the fact that he was disappointed when the producer eliminated that clean streamline due to costs involved. Thank you. Gary John Gresl
I have an original with no on/off switch and no temperature settings for different kinds of material. It has a serial number and a model number too. It must have been one of the first ones made. I still use it almost everyday for my sewing and ironing needs. It works like a charm still and one of the best made out of aluminum with a wood handle. IT says only 675 Watts. I am trying to find the funnel and book that came with it. I inherited it all from my mom who once had an antique store in SF bay area.
The company name "Titeflex" also appears on the iron. How does this company fit in with the other manufacturers?
Waverly apparantly was a subcontractor of Titeflex. Waverly was bought in around 1948 by yet another name important in the history of this beautiful iron, Rival. By 1950, Rival closed the production in Sandusky, and brought it to Kansas City, Missouri. Rival continued producing other models of irons, which were also called Steam-O-Matic, more specifically the R 500 and R 500 B (from 1952 onwards) On the Titeflex/Waverly connection see: https://books.google.be/books?id=VOLgGQmg25EC&pg=SL16-PA76&lpg=SL16-PA76&dq=titeflex+waverly+tool+co.&source=bl&ots=m1TTB1LC8S&sig=ACfU3U09Dxh8f063RjCps8cu72_kg6I1Ug&hl=nl&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjQz9qpqdzoAhUiuaQKHdATA4sQ6AEwCnoECAsQLw#v=onepage&q=titeflex%20waverly%20tool%20co.&f=false

Add a comment about this object