Ironing on a Summer Day

I am making masks for use in public to fight the Corona virus again. It seems like my Rowenta iron is getting a workout as I press seams and pleats and the finished product.

A few years ago I gave away a Rowenta iron because the water would sputter and pop. Turns out I was using distilled water and it was designed to use tap water! The new iron came with a little white cup to make the water easier to pour into the iron. It holds about 12 ounces? The iron does not actually hold that much, so the water that remained in the cup sometimes formed a scum on the bottom of the white cup.

Recently I grabbed my water bottle from an earlier walk and filled the iron. Thought, “Why not?” It poured easily enough.

So I have been using that for a week or two. Jump into a memory!

My mother had a General Electric iron similar to this version from the 1950’s. Even with that gnarly two-toned cord.

With that version there was no steam option so the clothes had to be dampened before you ironed them. So instead of my trusty push button for forced steam or continuous steam from the Rowenta, we used something like this!

Yes! a trusty soda pop bottle with water (we would never place it on its side like the above photo). Just shake and the water would sprinkle out on the clothing. Then press the item. I thought it was so cool. When Mom would ask me to refill the bottle for her, I was always willing! When I was finally deemed old enough to do the ironing our General Electric iron was more like the one below. The red button on the top was for steam! We were moving up in the world! I never minded ironing. Even now, I am grateful I never had to iron stacks of dress shirts for my husband’s work, but ironing other things has not been a chore to me.

It was not usual for me to come home from school on a hot day and see my mother with the ironing board set up in front of the television, watching Reds baseball and drinking a beer while she ironed.

All that surfaced, while I ironed masks and watch Roku television in the basement! Grateful for the advances electric irons have made. Baseball season such as it is will begin soon. Unlikely you will find me ironing with a beer!

6 thoughts on “Ironing on a Summer Day

  1. I remember ironing with the flat iron, no steam then. And then scorching Dad’s white shirt. Seemed like it was always just as I was finishing too. After sprinkling the clothes, if you didn’t get all of them ironed, you would put the rest in the fridge until tomorrow.


  2. Miss Molly, you have really made me smile! Your memories of the irons and the old required methods of ironing closely mirrors my own. I was raised in a large family in southeastern Pennsylvania. As the second oldest, the ironing became my chore when I was still quite young. There was always an overflowing basket of ironing waiting for me. One particular, not so good, memory is when the brand new GE steam iron toppled off of the end of the ironing board. In a panic I attempted to catch the hot iron in the palms of my open hands and my save soon failed anyway. The pain in my hands from the burning caused me to drop the iron onto the hard floor. The black handle broke into pieces and the crash of the overturned ironing board brought my Mother running into the room. Aghast, my Mother cried…for the lost iron! Fortunately for me, my Father also arrived and was more attentive to my predicament. The painful burns became large blisters on the my right hand and several on the left as well. The good part was that I could not manage the ironing or much of anything else for quite some time. To this day, I only iron when it is absolutely necessary and I find it seldom necessary. However, I do have a marvelous iron should the rare occasion of needing one arise. Thank-you!


  3. I can’t recall the last time I used my iron. During my days in the Army, I used it pretty often, though the military had moved to permapress shirts shortly after I joined. Prior to that we had all cotton fatigues that we would send to the cleaners to be cleaned, pressed, and starched. I’ve been retired from the Army for more than twenty years and have the same iron and ironing board that I used back then. It is not quite as vintage as some of the irons that you show, Molly, but it is nowhere near as modern as the fancy Rowenta iron in the first photo.


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