Sunday, May 9, 2010

Charcoal Irons 3 (Rooster type)- Seterika Arang Ayam lama

Both Rooster irons made by Cast irons
Aproximate Length 270mm
Price:RM700 for both roosters


Charcoal Irons or coal irons as the name suggests holds embers from wood or coal fires and are extremely cumbersome and require quite some skill in not smudging the clean washing or even burning from ashes escaping by way of the many vent holes. In third world countries these irons are still in use and are still being manufactured.

Type of irons

Sad irons do not mean unhappy irons as the word now implies, but to mean being heavy. So all heavy irons are known as sad irons. Sad heating irons as we know them now, are recorded back to the beginning of the 16th century. When they came into general use in Europe, it was the Dutch that pioneered its popularity, though goffering irons were used in the early 12th century to facilitate the pressing of frills, ruffles and pleats in France.

Smoothing Stones have been around since the 8th and 9th century and are known as the earliest western ironing devices, looking somewhat like a large mushroom. In Scandinavia they are known as slicken stones, slekje meaning to polish and smooth. Made from various hard materials, wood, glass, stone and bone etc., one or two hands were used to press firmly down upon the fabric and pressed in a rubbing manner back and forth using friction for heat. In parts of Holland they are still used to this day, preparing the starched parts of their National costume by polishing and smoothing, but here known as leksteen.

Smoothing Board or mangle board are another early ironing device, wrapping the fabric around a poker type roller (50mm to 75 mm dia.) the flat handled board was pressed in a rolling motion until the desired result was achieved. Made of hard wood and ornately carved and painted these boards were often given away as presents or wedding gifts with personal markings.

Linen Presses as the name implies was also an early method for pressing fabric, not unlike a book press that has two hard flat surfaces and squeezed together via a threaded rod. The fabric being placed between the two plates and flattened with the pressure.

Goffering Irons as earlier mentioned, were slender rods or cigar like tubes on a stand or used individually like a poker. Heated either with a hot slug or over heat and varied in size, to the size of the ruff required, some being very decorative.

Fluter Irons come in many guises some quite novel, as combination flat iron and rocker, single purpose flat iron and board/plate or intricate mechanical devices with a rotating handle. Introduced in the mid to late 18th century they quickly replaced earlier means of pleating and crimping damp material. American and British manufactured fluters are distinguished by the rib spacings American being much broader, by a third. Heating fluters was done by the usual hot slug, charcoal, spirit or stove heated etc.

Box Irons manufactured mainly in Europe and fabricated in many materials. The very ornate brass irons capturing high value sales today, many irons being individually made in an art form. Heating being applied via a hot slug entered into the box, either at the rear or a hinged top, the huge variations of this iron makes it a popular collectors choice.

Electric Irons first patented in America in 1883 have over the years become the easiest iron to use, now ultra light with teflon soles, multiple steam jets and even cordless as surprisingly was the first. What a dream that would have been in days gone by or our poorer neighbors. Since the turn of the century electricity has revolutionized the method of heating irons, gone now are the days of danger of burning wood, coal or liquid fuels. There are many electric irons to collect.

Miniature Irons were not made only for children as toys but were the real thing for delicate work or other reasons. Many were promotional and given away as gifts and range through most of the irons earlier mentioned. Some collectors specialize solely in this area, the smallness allowing greater ease of presentation and handling.

Live Steam Irons used commercially in laundries all over the world are slowly being replaced with electric presses and other modern ironing devices. The live steam irons are heavy and very dangerous, being heated via flexible pipes/hoses through entry and exit fittings using very hot steam under pressure from a large boiler that would be used to run the whole laundry. Modern laundries have refined this practice now using light weight irons via a small individual boiler plugged into a wall socket.

In iron collecting there are also many other matters to consider such as cleaning and maintaining, how to display our pride and joy, where will our next masterpiece be found, how to photograph? Research is a facet of this hobby that particularly interests us, talking to lots of people and searching libraries for anything new. Book keeping is also important, cataloging each new find with what, where, when, size and how much etc. As collections grow this information becomes very important as our memories can only remember so much information.

Pressing instruments have been around for some time, the first is believed to have been used in China many thousands of years ago. This took the form of a ceramic or glass vessel filled with hot sand to smoth fine silks. Pressing irons have just evolved, necessity being the mother of invention. In older days pressing irons were tools for servants and not much was written about them, hence many grey areas unlike the cultural arts of the day or a historic War. Historians are searching for more information and it is slowly coming to light, as a collector I find this very interesting and learn more each day through contacts from a variety of sources.

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