Facts about Irons and Ironing boards

Irons and ironing boards are a staple in every sewing room. In fact, it's one of the main advantages of having a dedicated quilt studio, you can have it up all day, every day! I currently love both my iron and ironing board.

my ironYou can see mine here, pretty attractive if I do say so myself. But what do I really KNOW about them? Isn't it time to know some facts about irons and ironing boards?

1. When did people start ironing? According to the folks at Old and Interesting, no one knows exactly when or who but the Chinese were using hot metal pans filled with hot coals that they moved over fabric over a thousand years ago.

2. When were irons made of iron? In the middle ages blacksmiths started making sad and flat irons which weighed between 5 and 9 pounds. For real, te0514aread about it here.

3. What are "sad" irons? It is from the Old English for solid, these original irons were very heavy with heavy iron handles. As they go lighter, the name changed to flat iron.

4. Who thought of making the handles wooden? A woman, of course! Mrs. Potts created a sad iron with a detachable walnut handle in 1871. No more burnt fingers!

5. Who invented the first electric iron? The French did in 1880 but they didn't become popular until 1903 when  Earl H. Richardson made them smaller and lighter. His company was eventually named Hotpoint.

6. What were early ironing boards like? They were just that, boards on a table or balanced between two chairs and a blanket to protect it.

sarah-boone (1)7. Who is cited as being the inventor of the modern ironing board? Another woman! Sarah Boone's 1892 patent was not the first for an ironing board but the first with a narrow end for ironing sleeves.

8. What else is nifty about Sarah Boone? She was one of the very first African American women to receive a patentSarah-Boone in the United States.

9. What are most ironing boards made of? Most are made of rolled steel and some rubber or plastic for feet plus paint.

10. How many companies manufacture ironing boards in the United States? Only one, Home Products International which does so with support from the Federal Government. Most are manufactured in China.

11. What is the most expensive iron and board? That would be the Miele Fashion Master which costs £1,500 or more than 2500.00 American dollars. Yowza, that's a lot of dough.

funny_ironing12. What is "extreme ironing" and why?  It was a contest launched by Rowenta. Here's one photo and you can click here to see 10 others. (They're at the power pt at the bottom and worth a look.)

If you think extreme ironing is as bizarre as it gets, nope. I found this You Tube video about ironing and playing basketball. It's a vine so only 6 seconds.

I suggest you not go on You Tube and search for ironing videos because there are pages of them. Who knew?

What kind of iron and ironing board do you have? Do they make you Sew happy!

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Like fact posts? Check out my last one on Featherweights. 

Filed under: Facts

Tags: ironing boards, irons

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    Kathy Mathews

    My passions are quilting and sewing. Add to that French, Spanish, books, swimming, travels, new restaurants, yoga and chocolate and you have me. All of these are best shared with family and friends. Except for chocolate, don't touch my chocolate. You can email me at

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