Before Electricity Was Used, Sad Irons Popular

An accessory used as a stand for a sad iron is called a trivet. Both came in different sizes and weights and are on display at the Portland Museum. Photo by Michael Zabrodsky

PORTLAND — The arduous task of cleaning clothes — the laundry-is finished.

But now some of the shirts and pants need to be pressed or ironed.

Today ironing is easy. Fill the iron with the correct amount of water, plug in the appliance, wait for it to heat up, and then begin to smooth out wrinkles and maybe set some creases.

In the 19th century, sad irons, also known as flat irons were used to smooth clothes. Instead of electricity, the irons were heated by other means.


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