Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Design 1900 to Now, Room 76

Electric Fan Heater

ca. 1934 (designed), 1938 (manufactured)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

By the mid-1930s the production of domestic electric heaters was established, but the market was geared towards wealthier homes, those who could afford the installation and running of this relatively new form of domestic power. This is a convection heater and works on the principle that cool air is drawn in via a fan, heated, and returned again to the room.

This heater was designed by Christian Barman and manufactured by the phonographic equipment company, His Master’s Voice, which later became known as HMV.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 3 parts.

  • Fan Heater
  • Motor and Fan
  • Flex
Materials and Techniques
Chrome-plated metal
Brief Description
Electric fan heater, chrome-plated metal, designed by Christian Barman, ca. 1934, manufactured by HMV 1938.
Physical Description
Convector electric fan heater, circular in section, tapering towards top, with four chrome-plated tiers.
Dimensions
  • Height: 30.5cm
  • Width: 41.5cm
  • Depth: 31cm
Style
Gallery Label
CHRISTIAN BARMAN (English, born 1898); Made by HMV ELECTRIC FAN HEATER Designed c. 1934, manufactured 1938 Chrome-plated metal This fan heater - a classic image of 1930s streamlined industrial design - derives its effect from its reflective curvilinear form of stacked cylinders. Its designer, Christian Barman, the editor of Architectural Review and later publicity officer for the London Passenger Transport Board, was an influential propagandist for the modern movement.(pre March 2001)
Historical context
By the mid-1930s electricity was cheap enough to be the sole source of heat in wealthier homes. Heating appliances exploiting the new form of energy had few precedents: in some cases they imitated glowing coals in a fireplace while others had the heating element in full view and could be moved around the room.



Convector heaters gave greater opportunities for modern treatments: this one would appear to be designed purely functionally, with four tiers deflecting the warm air down and out. Its decorative effect is dependent not upon applied ornament but its shiny, reflective surfaces and curvilinear, streamlined form. The heater, which was produced by a phonographic equipment manufacturer, also came in cream enamel finish.



Christian Barman was an influential propaganist for the Modern Movement. As well as being an architect and product designer, he was editor of 'The Architectural Review' and Publicity Officer for London Transport.

[Gareth Williams, 'British Design at Home', p.121]
Summary
By the mid-1930s the production of domestic electric heaters was established, but the market was geared towards wealthier homes, those who could afford the installation and running of this relatively new form of domestic power. This is a convection heater and works on the principle that cool air is drawn in via a fan, heated, and returned again to the room.



This heater was designed by Christian Barman and manufactured by the phonographic equipment company, His Master’s Voice, which later became known as HMV.
Bibliographic Reference
Baker, Malcolm, and Brenda Richardson (eds.), A Grand Design: The Art of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London: V&A Publications, 1999.
Collection
Accession Number
W.71:1 to 3-1978

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record createdFebruary 7, 2000
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