Thread Number: 71015  /  Tag: Irons and Mangles
What to buy for quick ironing?
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Post# 940100   5/24/2017 at 21:13 (367 days old) by VacuumGuy99 (North Western PA)        

So much like my decision to get a wringer washer for the speed of washing I'm now looking into either a rotary iron or one of the flat press style irons. I only happened to stumble upon these style of irons from old ads and a few youtube videos, past that I'm clueless lol. So what style of iron seems to be able to get through the most laundry (with or without a learning curve)? I know about some vintage brands that made ironers like kenmore,maytag,ge,and of course ironrite. Some of the new machines I've seen are made by singer,miele, and some less known brand like reliable and steam fast. So what ironers seem to work the best and are reliable, and what are your personal opinions on these large irons?

Post# 940112 , Reply# 1   5/24/2017 at 21:47 (367 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Oh I know one member off the bat you could ask that question

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Post# 940116 , Reply# 2   5/24/2017 at 22:07 (367 days old) by Michaelman2 (Atlanta, GA)        

The vintage Ironrite ironers usually abound on Ebay and other auction sites. They are heavy and take some room, there as some of the models that are not as cumbersome. The main feature is the ironer is open on both ends of the padded roll and the iron is on the bottom of the roll.

I know that Pfaff took the Ironrite patent and they have an ironer produced across the pond and it has a steam feature to it.

The vintage ironers must have slightly damp items to produce steam.

The Ironrite is very well built and they really last. In a pinch there are some parts that pop up on Ebay from time to time. The roller covers and padding is readily available.

The video Laundress provided is fun...there are also several videos on YouTube produced by Ironrite in the 1940s showing the use of the ironer. Goofy at times, however they are educational and invaluable for someone to learn the use of the machine.

Post# 940119 , Reply# 3   5/24/2017 at 22:10 (367 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
But seriously folks

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Back when Consumer Reports tested ironers (1940's through about late 1950's), the brands with shoes under the roll (Ironrite and Bendix) always scored highest for ease of use and best results.

What are you going to be ironing most?

Flat plate irons can give good results with things like shirts and small linens such as pillow slips, napkins, etc... But for large things like sheets and tablecloths things can be tricky.

Few take away points:

Back when ironers were first introduced onto the domestic scene housewives were advised to get one with a roller at least half or quarter wide as their widest linens. The idea was not to send things through ironer folded more than in one half. Of course back then you could get ironers up to 42" wide for home use. That ship has sailed. Widest in the 1950's were those offered by Frigidaire, Conlon, and Maytag at about 32".

If you plan to do bed linen or large tablecloths you either have to pass the thing through four or more times to iron it all with only a center (or no) crease. This or fold the thing into quarters and thus have ironed in creases. There is no way around this again because of roller width offered on ironers.

If you aren't going to be ironing lots of heavy old linen or cotton fabrics, thus don't require high heat, then the Miele rotary ironer should be fine. If not in a rush you can wait until one comes up on offer cheap (eBay, CL, or whatever), then pounce.

Of vintage ironers sold today I'd suggest going with an Ironrite, especially the last few models with the 95 being best.

Say Ironrite because it is probably the only vintage ironer out there you can still source parts and plenty of service information.

Because Ironrite ironers had two open ends IMHO it is far easier to manage many things, including shirts than others.

Post# 940124 , Reply# 4   5/24/2017 at 22:22 (367 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Jon you know I love you!

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But each time see that video one just cracks up.



Post# 940266 , Reply# 5   5/25/2017 at 21:17 (366 days old) by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

Um, was Mary wearing a mink? Why didn't she just have the "girl" do it?

Post# 940273 , Reply# 6   5/25/2017 at 21:47 (366 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
By the 1940's

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Having any sort of help was becoming a luxury for even most middle class households. In certain places like the South where (well) discrimination kept African Americans down it *may* have been a bit eaiser, but just.

Don't forget by late 1930's and certainly early 1940's the run up and later during WWII saw large numbers of women from all parts of society going to work for the effort. Factories, flying airplanes, driving trucks, becoming nurses, etc.... As such what was already a "servant shortage" was exacerbated by both females and males (those that weren't in military for various reasons) able to find much better paying work.

In fact the "servant problem" had been growing since early in the last century which helped drive invention and so forth of the mod cons we see today. More and more housewives (and anyone else for that matter) unless very well off (and sometimes not even then) were able to find or afford help. So they would have to learn how to keep houses themselves. Those that could get servants were advised to bring the new labor saving devices into the home in order to make a maid's work easier so they would remain.

As it relates to this group; read somewhere that early washing machine sales were in direct competition with either the large steam laundries of the day and or laundresses/domestic help. Housewives saw no need to purchase a washing machine since they either sent the stuff out and or hired someone else to do it in.

Manufactures had to fight against commercial laundries that lowered their prices to keep customers, and also laundresses who feared losing business (and their income) so did the same.

What changed?

Washing machine makers and others began a concerted push to get laundry done in the home on health and sanitary grounds. That is any decent and respectable housewife who sought to protect the morality and health of her family didn't send her washing out where it would be done by "anyone" and mixed with God knows who's laundry. This is where you start to see the push for not only washing machines, but wringers, heated drying cabinets and rotary ironers.

Being as this may washing machines were still rather costly and as such at least in urban areas many homes still sent their washing out. During WWII the scarcity of help and of course new appliances along with other considerations (such as females working), also prompted the use of commercial laundries. This all would come to a crashing end post war era.

Mass production of laundry appliances began to bring prices down. This coupled with the movement to the suburbs and women being shoved back into the home meant once again many found themselves doing the wash. Eventually only things like men's dress shirts and perhaps diapers were sent out.

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