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Photograph of Jonelle travel irons instore display
Jonell Travel Iron (1966)

Hand irons are devices used for pressing clothes. Irons have been heated directly by flame, stove plate heat, or in the case of the modern iron by electricity. An American inventor called Henry W Seely patented the electric iron (or electric flatiron as it was called at the time) in 1882.

Early electric irons used a carbon arc to create heat, however, this was not a safe method. In 1892, hand irons using electrical resistance were introduced by Crompton and Co. and the General Electric Company. During the early 1950s electric steam irons were introduced. 

Catalogue entry for ironing boards (1930s)
Cole Brothers advertisement (1930s)

Electric irons made it easier for people to look smart. Modern press-irons make life easier, full stop. Press irons just like the dry cleaners use are now on sale in department stores like John Lewis.

They cut down on ironing time with 5 times the pressure and 10 times the surface area of an iron.

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