Monday, May 10, 2010

Charcoal Irons 5 - Seterika arang lama

This charcoal iron shape is a bit unique. Made from brass material.
Aproximate length about 270mm

Antique Clothes Irons
A little piece of collectible history

Many people celebrate the antique clothes iron as a small piece of domestic history. These unique appliances even have their own collectors' clubs and museums, and indeed, the history and craftsmanship these antique irons possess do indeed make them quaint collectibles or even unique accent pieces in a home.

The first irons as we know them today were called sadirons, from the old English word "sald," meaning solid. The oldest version was called a flat iron, and was a simple piece of flat metal with a handle that was held in the fire for heating. There were also irons that were filled with charcoal kept hot with the use of bellows. In the 1820s, cast iron was invented, and the clothes iron changed. The new material was easier to heat and cleaner to use, but these antique irons weighed up to 15 pounds and were difficult to move.

An American woman by the name of Mary Potts developed and patented several features of latter antique irons. She proposed that an iron should have a hollow body filled with a non-conductive material like plaster-of-Paris to allow for longer and more even heating. She also invented a spring-loaded, detachable wooden handle to eliminate the danger of burns, endearing herself to housewives everywhere.

The rustic simplicity of the antique clothes iron makes it an art piece in and of itself. There are many different styles available from all over the world, from hand flutter irons to gas irons to rare asbestos irons. They can be used as doorstops, unique paperweights, or display pieces.

Whether you are a collector or you just appreciate the historical value of these pieces, there is no doubt that the antique iron connects us to the past in a very tangible way, highlighting both the differences and similarities of day-to-day life in the present and in bygone eras.

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