Saturday, May 8, 2010

Charcoal Irons 1 - Seterika arang










OLD CHARCOAL IRON - Seterika Arang Lama

Both are made from brass material
Length: Aproximately 150mm (small irons) and 270mm (large iron)
Price:RM400 for both Irons



Brief History of ironing

No-one can say exactly when people started trying to press cloth smooth, but we know that the Chinese were using hot metal for ironing before anyone else. Pans filled with hot coals were pressed over stretched cloth. A thousand years ago this method was already well-established.

Meanwhile people in Northern Europe were using stones, glass and wood for smoothing. These continued in use for "ironing" in some places into the mid-19th century, long after Western blacksmiths started to forge smoothing irons in the late Middle Ages.

If you make the base of your iron into a container you can put glowing coals inside it and keep it hot a bit longer. This is a charcoal iron, and the photograph (right) shows one being used in India, where it's not unusual to have your ironing done by a "press wallah" at a stall with a brazier nearby. Notice the hinged lid and the air holes to allow the charcoal to keep smouldering. These are sometimes called ironing boxes, or charcoal box irons, and may come with their own stand.

For centuries charcoal irons have been used in many different countries. When they have a funnel to keep smokey smells away from the cloth, they may be called chimney irons. Antique charcoal irons are attractive to many collectors, while modern charcoal irons are manufactured in Asia and also used in much of Africa. Some of these are sold to Westerners as reproductions or replica "antiques".

Some irons were shallower boxes and had fitted "slugs" or "heaters" - slabs of metal - which were heated in the fire and inserted into the base instead of charcoal. It was easier to keep the ironing surface spotlessly clean, away from the fuel, than with flatirons or charcoal irons. Brick inserts could be used for a longer-lasting, less intense heat. These are generally called box irons, although they used to be known as ironing boxes too.

Late 19th century iron designs experimented with heat-retaining fillings. Designs of this period became more and more ingenious and complicated, with reversible bases, gas jets and other innovations. See some inventive US models here. By 1900 there were electric irons in use on both sides of the Atlantic.

1 comment:

murkey said...

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