COLLECTION: Household Accessories

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Sad or Flat Iron

Origin: America
Overall: 6 1/2 x 9 1/2 x 1 13/16in. (16.5 x 24.1 x 4.6cm)
Cast and wrought iron
Gift of Miss Vivian Sprinkle
Acc. No. 1958-131
"Sad iron" with cast iron body poured around a wrought iron handle, which is tightly twisted at the top. Body of elongated rectangular form with a pointed front end, a flat bottom, and molded top edges. A large open bubble is visible on the top of the body.
Label:Referred to as a "sad iron" or a "flat iron," these cloth smoothing devices were the most basic of the various pressing irons used in early America. With a heavy, solid cast iron body and a cast-in handle, the sad iron was charged directly by the heat of a fire burning in the hearth or by being set on a stove. Either way, care had to be taken so the bottom of the iron didn't dirty the cloth being pressed. Further complicating the process, the handle would also get hot, and had to be gripped with a good wad of cloth to prevent a burned hand.