Quilting, Farming, Variety

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Comparison

I got a new iron last week, sleek and almost too bright to get a good picture of it because it reflected things just like a mirror!  Immediately I couldn't help but compare it to Mama's heavy "sad" iron.

The new iron is heavier than my old iron, weighing about 3 1/2 pounds, but the sad iron, solid cast iron, is much heavier.  What a workout for a lady's arm muscles!

New irons come with automatic temperature controls; set the dial on the temperature for different fabrics and when it reaches that setting, it stops heating ~ perfect.  A sad iron ~ set it on a hot stove and let it heat, hoping it won't be hot enough to scorch that white shirt.  Mama tested the heat by wetting the end of her finger then quickly touching the bottom of the sad iron.  If the moisture sizzled, the iron was ready to use.

 The bottom of the new iron is so bright things are reflected in it, making it look brown!

Of course, with the addition of polyester to cotton fabrics, ironing is much easier today anyway.  The new irons make steam to remove small wrinkles, and if there is a stubborn wrinkle, just push a button for an extra shot of steam.  A lot of clothing was made from cotton feed sacks in yester-years and was starched to give it body.  Before the clothing could be ironed a good sprinkling of water droplets made it easier to remove wrinkles: Mama dipped her fingers into a bowl of water and sprinkled the items, then rolled them up so the moisture could reach the entire pieces.  While ironing, if she came across a dry spot, she would wet a cloth and rub it over the spot, then continue ironing the item.

Oh my!  The new iron seems heavy to me now, but how in the world could I iron with a sad iron!  And, by the looks of that stack of tablecloths, I need to go iron!  But, as Scarlet would say, "I won't think about it today; I'll think about it tomorrow."

Charlotte


23 comments:

  1. I can remember my mom doing a lot of ironing. She spent a lot of time ironing my dad's dress shirts for work. I rarely need to iron anything any more. That little sad iron looks like it would be hard to use, especially if it is heavy to lift.

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    1. Daisy, the little iron IS heavy! I weighed it on bathroom scales but I believe it weighs more than they read. I would probably burn everything I tried to iron with it.

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  2. We have it so easy with so many things now a days! I have the iron my Mom used when she was young. I am not sure why, but her job was the ironing. It is a gas iron. It used white gas and has a little handle to pump it up. It reminds me of a Coleman lantern in that way. I hope you enjoy your new iron. The table cloths are not going anywhere, they can wait!

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    1. The farmer says his mother had an iron heated with gas and sometimes it would flare up. Once she rushed to the front door and threw it out into the yard when it flared up. :)

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  3. No wonder it is known as "sad" iron. Right? I don't remember Mom ironing with one. I think you will enjoy ironing that stack of pretty tablecloths!

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    1. Yes! I would think ironing with one of these would make the chore "sad"! Ask the farmer about the gas irons...

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  4. Awe - you reminded me in this post of the iron I had from my grandmother, and now I'm wondering what in the world happened to it! I also can remember my mom sprinkling and rolling up the clothes before ironing. Okay, now I'm also remembering how it was said that my mom even ironed my dad's underwear!

    We really do have it easier these days, but a part of me wishes I could have lived I those earlier times! :)

    P.S. I never minded ironing, in fact I enjoyed it and it was one of my first jobs other than babysitting. I ironed for the lady next door to us, and made a whopping ten cents each piece. :)

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    1. Oh I wish you still had your grandmother's iron! I have three of my mother's. Ironing underwear ~ let's don't get carried away with this chore! I'm glad my mother lived to have an electric iron; she used to iron for people too.

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  5. you rarely see scorch marks on clothing anymore - a big Plus!

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    1. If I were ironing with a sad iron there would be scorch marks I'm sure!

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  6. I had a sad iron--it was my Great Grandma's. I used it for a door stop for many years. I can remember ironing baby girl dresses, with the puff sleeves and so tiny, back in the late 50's, before polyester came around. I used a ketchup bottle with that holey top on it to sprinkle with--just like my Mother used. Ah--the memories.

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    1. Oh my! Puff sleeves were the worst thing to iron! No wonder polyester became such a hit for a few years. I remember puffed nylon dresses too ~ hated them! I have a holey top on a bottle but I don't use it anymore.

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  7. I can't imagine ironing with something so heavy. I used to sprinkle the clothes with a pop bottle that had the holey top. I enjoy ironing and actually do it often when I'm sewing.

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    1. I don't use the bottle with a holey top unless it's on a starched fabric. I can't say I enjoy ironing but don't want to send the farmer off in wrinkles for sure!

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  8. My parents some of those cast iron irons, I always wondered how a homemaker kept the iron from leaving black marks on thrum freshly washed laundry.
    I am so thankful for modern running heated water, washers, dryers, Tide and electric steam irons. My great grandmother lived in a sod house on the Oklahoma prairie with 2 little ones and a baby and her farmer husband. She was such a proper woman, I can't imagine how hard she had to work to keep everyone clean and pressed.

    Those are pretty tablecloths you have, waiting to be ironed :)

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    1. Yes! I'm especially thankful for running heated water and a washing machine. How would I ever wash dirty jeans on a rub board! That's very interesting about your great grandmother and the sod house.

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    2. I remember using waxed paper to prevent scorching clothes. :)

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  9. I have one of those sad irons, it was my grandmother's and often wonder
    how in the world did they iron with it.
    I love to iron and many tell me they do not do it anymore.
    I find it relaxing and iron much, my pillow cases, tablecloths
    and most I wear
    and for some reason like to iron on a rainy day :)

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    1. Women surely must have had strong arm muscles after using these old irons :) I still iron; there's a certain pride in sending the farmer off with a crease down his shirt sleeves.

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  10. I am thankful I don't have to iron with a sad iron. That is one pretty iron you have. What brand is it? I am in need of a new one I think. Nancy

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    1. The iron is made by Shark. It is really heavy, but they have a lighter model. My old iron just refused to heat up one day and water poured out of it. Can't have that on quilt pieces!

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  11. Hi Charlotte. I was over yesterday and kept trying to post, but it kept messing up - so, I'm back :o) Sad irons are very heavy! I have several of them. I remember Mom shaking that pop bottle filled with water onto the clothes and rolling them up and putting them in the clothes basket 'til she was ready to iron. I don't like to iron, and only do it when absolutely necessary :o)

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  12. What a wonderful tribute to the sad old irons that our poor foremothers had to struggle with.
    My Mom had an electric iron. She used a cola bottle with a sprinkle head she put on it. She'd give the clothes a good sprinkling, roll them up and set them aside. When she ironed them out, they would be so pretty and neat. Not a wrinkle in site.
    I'm glad that clothes don't require the attention now-a-days like they once did.
    I use my iron mostly when I'm sewing. I have a thing about keeping the fabric wrinkle free and the seams ironed flat. ;)

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