The term sadiron comes from the Old English word “sald”, or solid. This tool was first used in the late 17th century. In its most basic form, the sadiron is shaped piece of metal, with an attached metal or wooden handle. Sadirons were heated in front of a fire, or on the stove top. In other variations, sadirons were bowl shaped, and heated by filling the bowl with hot coals. Sadirons usually ranged from about 5-9 pounds in weight. This combination of weight and heat made ironing a less than desirable task.
Another difficult aspect of ironing with a sadiron is the fact that they cooled down very rapidly. Generally, when ironing, several irons were heated simultaneously so that when one cooled down, the next would be readily available for use.
An important development in the progress of the sadiron was made by Ottumwa, Iowa inventor Mary Florence Potts. She earned a patent for an iron with points at both end, so one could iron in either direction. In addition, Mary Potts patented a sadiron with a removable handle, which made it possible to heat up the iron, without heating the handle.
The PAST Antiques Marketplace carries many sadirons for sale and The Gateway Museum has an entire Laundry Shop Exhibit! To see our full selection and this impressive exhibit, stop by The PAST Antiques on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut!
Check back next week for another Trivia Tuesday!