Why is this object included in the exhibition?
It's there as an example of the way that modern design was used for everyday objects like art making everyday life more efficient.
It dates to the 1930s machine age, when everything from fine art to skyscrapers to furniture was affected by a new, streamlined, simplified design style, and by the use of new materials. Sometimes when we put everyday objects side-by-side with fine art like sculpture and painting, it is possible to see connections between them.
Was this Hobart slicer broken and repaired?
I am not seeing that the slicer was broken and repaired. The report cites "extensive wear," but nothing about a break.
Why is this device used to cut meat on display in a museum?
It can definitely be confusing to see an item you would find at your local supermarket on display! This meat slicer is an example of innovation, in a few ways. The manufacturing company, Hobart, was among the first to produce electric kitchen wares, such as this meat slicer, as well as electric mixers.
Another innovation is found in the design created by industrial designer, Egmont Arens. Before Arens' design, a meat slicer was hard to clean and impractical. Not only did Arens' innovative design make it easy to clean, it was a new, modern aesthetic that was first popular in the 1920s.
You guys have a meat slicer on exhibit!
We sure do! The meat slicer is representative of the streamlined design developed in the 1930's.
I never thought of it as being a clean, efficient machine but it is.
It is always interesting when seemingly ordinary objects become part of museum exhibitions. It always reminds me that this technology and design were once ground breaking and innovative! From a salesman's memo: "The Hobart Meat Slicer is an excellent example of how a piece of machinery can be designed to do a better job, to be easier to manipulate and at the same time easier on the eye."
I'll bet that machine enabled some really good NY deli sandwiches!
I'm sure it did!
Was this manual or electric?
It was electric! It was manufactured in 1930 by the Hobart Manufacturing Company and is their first model of an electric meat slicer, the Model 11-A.