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Bisexual and Invisible Memory: Gendered Design History of Domestic Sewing Machine, 1850-1950

Zhang, Li;


Sewing machine, the rock star at the era of worshipping on industrial power, was regarded as “one of amazement and astonishment at technical virtuosity” (Hounshell 1984: 67). No matter how sophisticated it was as a scientific advancement, it’s agreeable that sewing machine is the designed artifact after all. Sewing machine, however as the one of most common domestic appliances, was barely invisible in design history due to a couple of reasons. Design history and gender were the dualspindle here: firstly, with the discourse of design history, I will sketch the trace of sewing machine in its design development and aesthetic innovation of style, the shape, function, size, material, style, and ornament; secondly, with the category of gender, I will investigate women consumers’ cultural identity and modernity experience on home sewing. Why did the sewing machine appear so minimally in the text of design history? Who designed the sewing machine and decided the style? Why did the sewing machines become similar among the four dominant manufactures? What is the relation among home sewing and its machine? How and why did the sewing machine from the factory equipment become more emotionally and physically acceptable to the family members? Exploration to these inquiring is constructed my arguments based on both technological and sentimental contexts.


Palavras-chave: sewing machine, gender, design history, memory,


DOI: 10.5151/despro-icdhs2014-0019

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Como citar:

Zhang, Li; "Bisexual and Invisible Memory: Gendered Design History of Domestic Sewing Machine, 1850-1950", p. 177-182 . In: Tradition, Transition, Tragectories: major or minor influences? [=ICDHS 2014 - 9th Conference of the International Committee for Design History and Design Studies]. São Paulo: Blucher, 2014.
ISSN 2318-6968, DOI 10.5151/despro-icdhs2014-0019

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