Journal Article

Oskar von Miller and the Art of the Electrical Exhibition: Staging Modernity in Weimar Germany

Eve Duffy

in German History

Published on behalf of German History Society

Volume 25, issue 4, pages 517-538
Published in print October 2007 | ISSN: 0266-3554
Published online October 2007 | e-ISSN: 1477-089X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0266355407082762
Oskar von Miller and the Art of the Electrical Exhibition: Staging Modernity in Weimar Germany

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Within the larger framework of understanding how modernity was framed within and through the domestic sphere, this article considers the efforts of Bavarian electrical engineer Oskar von Miller to electrify and modernize Germany against the backdrop of Weimar reform movements. Unlike modernist reformers associated with such projects as the Bauhaus or the Werkbund, Miller was a practical systems-builder who sought to encourage consumption within traditional frameworks of home and Heimat. For Miller, exhibiting the benefits of technology was a key element in securing its success, and his reliance on consumers rested on a corporatist ideal that would create a new kind of community centred on technology. Whereas in the Imperial era Miller focused on Handwerker and small machines as the guarantors of both progress and social stability, in the Weimar era he turned to housewives and housework. Through his involvement in electrification schemes as well as in his work in founding the Deutsches Museum, one of the first museums of science and technology in Europe, Miller created a powerful narrative of technological progress that was both traditional and modern.

Keywords: Germany; electricity; exhibitions; technology; modernity; domesticity

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: European History

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