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International Housewares Association records

Creation: 1938-2014
Accession: 2245
View selected items online in the Hagley Digital Archives.
View selected items online in the Hagley Digital Archives.


International Housewares Association is a trade organization that promotes the sales and marketing of housewares. The formation of The International Housewares Shippers Association, and International Business Council, gives assistance to members with global trade issues. Through The Inspired Home, a consumer-based magazine and website, IHA caters to the housewares buyer by directly connecting the industry to its’ consumers. The collection has been divided into seven series: Administrative, Annual Show, International Business Council, International Shippers Association, Membership, Public Relations, and Publications.


  • Creation: 1938-2014



69 Linear Feet

Historical Note

International Housewares Association is a trade organization that promotes sales and marketing of housewares. It was formed in 1927 when members of the National Home Furnishing Manufacturers Association organized a Chicago exposition to display the products of more than 115 regional housewares manufacturers. This trade show featured kitchenware and major appliances. In 1932 a rival trade show in New York City was organized by the New York Housewares Manufacturers Association. After a decade of competition, the two associations merged in 1941 forming the Housewares Manufacturers Association that would produce a unified trade show at the Palmer House in Chicago. With severe limits being placed on the production of consumer products during the Second World War these trade shows were halted from 1941 through 1946.

In 1946 the National Housewares Manufacturers Association (NHMA) was formed when the Chicago manufacturers association was merged with the New York Housewares Association. The first post-war trade show was organized in 1947 in Philadelphia. By the early 1950s the annual housewares exposition had grown to nearly 600 exhibitors displaying a dizzying array of new products. There was in increasing international presence with several dozen European and Japanese exhibitors. The NHMA trade show grew exponentially during the 1950s and 1960s as the houseware industry developed alongside America’s consumer society. By the 1960s industrial design had become increasingly important, and in 1966 the NHMA began sponsoring international expositions. In 1982, working with the U.S. Department of Commerce, it organized the Household Products Export Council. In 2000 the NHMA changed its name to the International Housewares Association (IHA) in order to reflect the industry’s increasing international presence. Today, with more than 2,000 members the IHA represents a broad spectrum of consumer product manufacturers.

Scope and Content

The collection has been divided into seven series. Administrative, Annual Show, International Business Council, International Shippers Association, Membership, Public Relations, and Publications.

The administrative series is further divided into subseries covering board of directors’ files, financials, subject files, surveys, and working files. Minutes for the Board of Directors meetings (1938-2002) document the numerous mergers and name changes of the organization. There is also documentation relating to election officers, budget matters, and the periodic revisions made to the by-laws. Financial Records contain ledgers from 1947-1949 and records of cash receipts and disbursements, 1985-1986. Subject files and surveys hold industry relevant materials. Correspondence, internal standards and executive files are found in the working files.

The annual show series contains IHA’s extensive planning materials and logistics for each International Housewares Show. Of special note are the Housewares Design Awards, and student design competition information.

The International Business Council (IBC) and The International Business Council are member driven groups of IHA. The IBC is a special interest group of International Housewares Association members, dedicated to helping its membership market and sell their products internationally by sharing information, providing networking opportunities and offering programs to assist, support, and educate. International Housewares Shippers Association (IHSA) is comprised of transportation executives who work closely with an extensive portfolio of global and regional carriers. Membership in IHSA is free to members of the International Housewares Association (IHA). Each of these series contain meeting files and service brochures.

The membership series files contain correspondence and a member services kit. The public relations series is voluminous with press clippings, releases, and press kits for future exhibitors to the annual show. The publications series is further divided into subseries covering annual show exhibitor catalogs, show publications, and trade literature.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research. Litigators may not view the collection without approval.

Use Restrictions

The IHA retains literary rights.

Language of Materials


Additional Description


The International Housewares Association records were deposited at Hagley by the IHA in September of 2000.


On Deposit from the International Housewares Association.

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

International Housewares Association records
Marsha Mills
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
Script of description:

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA