Ironing is a chore that not many of us enjoy doing and seems to never end. But with all of the modern appliances we have these days, the job is a lot easier than it used to be! Before the modern iron was invented, the task was not so simple.
The process of ironing was around long before the modern iron was invented. In the 1st century BC, the Chinese would use metal pans filled with hot water to smooth their clothes and erase creases from fabric. Although no one knows exactly how long people have been ironing, this is one of the earliest examples on record.
During the 17th century, a new method began to emerge. Big slabs of iron with a handle were heated on a fire and used to smooth the wrinkles out of fabric. This device was called a sad iron, after an old word which meant solid. They were also known as flat irons. Every time someone wanted to do the ironing, they would have to wait for the iron slab to heat up above the fire, then stop when it had cooled and begin the entire process all over again.
Further down the line, people would take iron boxes and fill them with hot coals or hot metal inserts.
Since irons had to be heated up before they were used and then cooled down as the person worked, the process of ironing could be a long and tiring one. To make things easier and more efficient, people began to use several irons, heating them from one source and switching between the irons as the others began to cool.
Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries
By the late 1800s and early 1900s, the development of irons had come a long way. There were many irons that were heated using fuels like ethanol, natural gas or whale oil.
The Electric Iron
All of these primitive forms of the iron led to the early development of the iron which we know and use today – the electric iron. Aluminium or stainless steel is used to make the hot plate and the temperature can be maintained steadily throughout the ironing process by a thermostat, which turns the heating element on and off whenever it gets too hot or cold.
The resistively heated electric iron was invented by Henry W. Seeley from New York in the 1880s. However, it wasn’t until the 1920s that an iron came on to the market that used a thermostat to regulate and control the temperature.
The Steam Iron
Thomas Sears later went on to invent the steam iron. The electronic steam iron was first used by a New York cleaning company in 1926 but it wasn’t until 1938 that the steam iron became commercially successful. The Steam-O-Matic was sold for $10 and opened the way for other electric steam irons to flood the market during the mid-1900s.
The Latest Irons
The iron has come a long way since the first electric steam iron and there are some out there that can make the chore of ironing a lot less stressful! Just some of the amazing features to look out for when buying a new iron are;
- Anti-calc collector – this prevents limescale from affecting the steam output, helping to make the iron last longer and work more efficiently.
- Auto-off setting – this is a particularly good feature if you are a forgetful person! The setting will switch the iron off automatically once it reaches a certain temperature or after a certain amount of time has passed.
- Spray – the iron can release a mist of water to ease the smoothing of stubborn wrinkles from fabric.
- Anodiliumm soleplates – these won’t get scratched and will last an incredibly long time.
The iron has come a long way since metal pans filled with hot water. It has developed over the years into the device we know and love today, making the task of ironing easier and more efficient than ever. But if you still find yourself struggling with the chore each week, why not treat yourself to a professional ironing service? You can contact us today for a quote.