It’s never been my goal to become America’s most beloved shower curtain blogger, but we go where our talents lead us.

I’m staying at a Radisson with one of those nice outward-bowing curtain rods and I noticed a slight design variation. The variation isn’t in the rod but in the curtain hooks. These have four little stainless steel beads threaded onto the hook wire.

Curtain hooks with beads

Two deformations in the hook wire keep the beads from sliding off.

Wire deformations

The apparent intent of these beads is to act like a set of rollers, allowing smoother movement of the hooks along the curtain rod. But they don’t work that way. First, the dents in the wire are in a funny position; the beads can slide around so that the hook itself is in contact with the rod.

Hook in contact with rod

Even when the beads keep the hook off the rod

Hook held off the rod

they don’t actually roll. The friction between the hook wire and the inside surface of the bead hole is too high, and the beads stay fixed to the wire. They slide along the rod, just like the hook does.

So either the designer of these curtain hooks is an idiot, or the apparent intent of the beads isn’t the real intent. I’m taking the latter position. I think the beads are there to express the idea of rolling, not to actually roll. It’s like Mies van der Rohe putting decorative I-beams on the outside of a structure to express the real steel skeleton encased within.

Even lowly curtain rod hook designers have artistic aspirations.

Update 3/1/11
OK, I guess curtain rod hook designers don’t have artistic aspirations, and the beads really are supposed to roll. First, hotel shower curtain aficionado Allen MacKenzie tweeted me this:

@drdrang Seesh! Why are none of those hooks closed? Is that safe? :-P

3:58 PM Mon Feb 28, 2011

Then Andy Lee left the comment you can read below. I didn’t realize when looking at the hooks in the Radisson that their ends are supposed to be snapped into a clasp.

Compare my first photo to this one linked by Allen in his tweet:

Allen MacKenzie's hooks

The hooks in my hotel room were bent so far from their original shape that it never occurred to me that their ends were supposed to snap together. Had they not been so distorted the beads would have been clustered on top of the rod instead of off to the side, and they probably would have rolled instead of slid.

I still want credit for an imaginative invocation of Mies van der Rohe.