“Antique Irons” Filled Pressing Needs

Creased Clothes Increased Prestige

OF Monfort Liquid Fuel Iron

(O.F. Monfort Liquid Fuel Iron Sold For $5,463.00 By Greg Martin Auctions in Dec. 2009)

I am not sure when the practice started of starching and ironing your clothes, but it seems certain that it has its origins in the court of some highfalutin king – stiff with dignity, sagacity and a pompous commitment to form and propriety. Oh, and pressed clothes looked good too.

Some Antique Irons Were Powered By Liquid Fuel or Gas

Acorn Brass Mfg Co Liquid Fuel IronEuropean Liquid Fuel IronVesuv Gas Jet Iron
(L-R: Acorn Brass Mfg Co Liquid Fuel Iron $1,000. European Liquid Fuel Iron $150. Vesuv Gas Jet Iron $1,380.)

We forget that today, that sometimes formality serves a purpose, well I know I do – I can’t remember the last time I starched a collar. Antique irons, as innovative as each succeeding model was, couldn’t have been easy to use. Not like the fine electric models we have today. In the old days irons were just what the word itself describes; a heavy flat chunk of metal. They were heated on stove tops, and yes they were hot – very hot. You can guess that it wasn’t some guy doing the ironing either. That’s right it was a woman. Someone who likely as a domestic, never had the time to iron her own clothes.

The Nuremberg Iron

Nuremberg Style Brass Box Iron

(Nuremberg Style Brass Box Iron Circa 1770 Sold For $2,300.00 By Greg Martin Auction in Dec. 2009)

The history of these Antique Irons, is so full of innovation, and the progress of their design and functionality mirrors the march of progress; each design becoming progressively more refined and easier to use. It’s kind of funny, that by the time the modern iron emerges from the cavern of time, it turns out, we need less and less ironing – that we have become less formal, that today even many professional jobs no longer require an employee to show up in a pressed suit.

Here are some examples of Antique Irons heated by gas or by placement on a stove

Dion Rocker FluterEllison  Askew Revolving Gas IronPatented Lamp Heated Flatiron

(L-R Dion Rocker Fluter $2,588. Ellison Askew Revolving Gas Iron $2,185. Patented Lamp Heated Flatiron $1,150.)

To me though, these irons are beautiful. As much as they were, once upon a time utilitarian, now they seem more interesting, like artifacts of labor that have been transformed into minor miracles of art. And I thank the whims of fashion that we don’t have to use them anymore, because there are so many other cooler ways to use our talents, and hands today.

Unique and Rare Antique Brass Figural Iron

Miniature Brass Figural Lion Iron

(Miniature Brass Figural Lion Iron Sold By Greg Martin Auction for $5,175.00 in Dec. of 2009)

Myers Goat FluterGeometric Decoration Carver Patent Combination Box IronJA Yarger Combination Revolving Liquid Fuel Iron

(L-R Myers Goat Fluter $3,163. Geometric Carver Box Iron $920. J.A. Yarger Revolving Fuel Iron $2,300.)

Take Care,

Martin Codina

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3 thoughts on ““Antique Irons” Filled Pressing Needs

  1. As fabrics become more care-free and the line between business and casual attire fades, antique irons such as these will become even more valuable. I can see the day when my great-grandchildren say “grandpa, what’s an iron?”.

  2. A lot of people wouldn’t know by looking particularly at that Dion Rocker Fluter that it was for laundering. Imagine the poor soul who had to do that job! Highfalutin indeed – all that work back then for pomp, glad we don’t have to do that anymore. Wayne’s right; so many things have become obsolete that young adults hardly know what some things are ~ Thanks Martin!

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