Thread Number: 71717  /  Tag: Irons and Mangles
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Post# 948997   7/19/2017 at 19:54 (334 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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Some may recall over a year ago now the Beast (Simplex Ironer) arrived at our home. While have done some cleaning and prepping the thing basically has sat sitting ever since.

Well past weekend had a ton of ironing to do as fell behind in my linen laundry, so figured why not go for a mortgage and hook the old girl up.

Am an idiot aren't I? Who in their right mind would run an ironer that has a thick cast iron shoe, is mostly all metal and no thermostat during a NYC heat wave. But that's me for you; ever the one going off on a tear.

Didn't do video (was too busy keeping from scorching my linen), but basically things go like this:

Plug in ironer and turn on heat. A light goes on to indicate current in passing to the heaters, then one waits.

As with electric hand irons from early in last century (this unit dates from 1920's or thereabouts), there isn't a thermostat. Rather one uses the thing like a sad iron heated on range; testing for proper temperature by either spitting on and or touching surface of shoe with a moistened finger. The former was not going to happen (too common and vulgar), nor was the second (fear of getting burned). Happily have a small infra read instant read thermometer so figured would use that to see shoe reached proper temp.

After about twelve to fifteen minutes the shoe was reading a temp of 400f; which is the normal range for ironing cotton fabrics. So off we went.....

There is a second switch on the control box that engages the motor. Once that is on you raise the wood forming board which causes the roller to turn. That is the basics of how the thing operates. Lowering and raising the forming board stops and starts the process.

Inserted first pillow slip and at once there was a burning smell. The thing emerged completely scorched on the ironed side! *LOL* Guess 400F was a bit too hot! Not really worried as you cannot make an omelet without breaking some eggs. Besides it was one of our vintage muslin pillow cases of which have dozens. The thing is still soaking to see if scorch will come out.

After allowing to cool, more testing, then the ironing proper could commence. Meanwhile the room became more and more hot and humid. This thing has great mass (all that cast iron and metal), and was giving off much heat. Sort of like ironing with an AGA range....

Because there is no indication of when any sort of temperature is reached, one simply must learn and watch. Trick is to get the ironing shoe hot enough to do the job suited to fabric, but not allow it to cool down below that range to such an extent will slow the process. Ideally it should take one pass to dry/iron things. By the end of experiment got it down to that, but am sure it cost dearly in electric use.

It took about an hour (give or take) to do twenty pillow slips and other small items. Much of that time was spent waiting for the darned thing to reach proper temp. Couldn't stand the heat any longer so switched thing off and would do the sheets on the more modern Pfaff ironer.

Even after unplugging and putting the Simplex ironer away, passed the thing some two hours later and it was still quite warm.

Here is a link to an article by Good Housekeeping magazine from the 1920's. It tells how to use a "mangle" such as the Simplex ironer.

Post# 949001 , Reply# 1   7/19/2017 at 20:16 (334 days old) by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        

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I can feel the heat from here!

Couldn't you just chuck out all your pesky linens, and replace them with nice drip-dry nylon?

Post# 949004 , Reply# 2   7/19/2017 at 20:31 (334 days old) by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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I have not used an iron in years. Linens go on the beds either off the line or out of the dryer in the winter. Cant be bothered ironing, too old for that. I want to make a cake but no way that oven is going on with a 71% dewpoint tonight. I know NYC was even worse than we were temp and humidity wise. I'd put it off until a cooler day to fire that beast up.

Post# 949006 , Reply# 3   7/19/2017 at 20:47 (334 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Drip dry nylon?

launderess's profile picture
In my linen cupboard? Are you mad? *LOL*

Only place for nylons is one's legs; and that is an end of things.

Still haven't forgotten the 1970's with all that horrid polyester and nylon.

Post# 949098 , Reply# 4   7/20/2017 at 10:48 (334 days old) by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        
"1970's with all that horrid polyester and nylon...&

rolls_rapide's profile picture
Turning folk into mobile Van de Graaf generators! Lol

Post# 950468 , Reply# 5   7/28/2017 at 14:05 (326 days old) by DaveTranter (Central England)        
'Van de Graaf Generators'

A subject which surely needs a thread of it's own (not wishing to 'hijack' this one!!).

Something I fully intend to build when I have the time. Fascinating things!! :-)

All best

Dave T

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