Month: May 2017

The origin of the humble clothes Iron

The Origin Of The Humble Clothes Iron


The iron let’s straighten things out

I have been pondering for a few days what to write as a guest blog for Eiffion’s followers on I have already written about collecting cat related items: can’t do that again. I thought about writing collecting dog ephemera but Eiffion has me beat on that one. Hence, I have decided to talk to you about something totally different, and that is the humble clothes iron!

Don’t ask me why! It’s not as if I even like ironing. It seems to be one of the most pointless household chores. You wash your clothes, hopefully in a washing machine if you are luck enough to own one. You stick them outside or in the tumble dryer to dry. Then you spend hours taking out the creases, wear the beautifully ironed garment, sit down for 5 minutes, and the creases reappear so that you look like a crumpled mess! But see someone in an un-ironed blouse or shirt and we all whisper behind that person’s back about how lazy they are. Even worse, I have heard the comment “Hasn’t your wife got an iron?”

Anyway, this blog isn’t about gender equality in ironing. I could spend a full day debating this with everyone and we would all end up disagreeing! The only thing my other half has ironed is bread to produce toast when the toaster wasn’t working!

The Humble Clothes Iron

We have been trying to smooth creases out of our clothes, ‘ironing,’ for many centuries. The Chinese were thought to be the first users of a process using hot smoothers in the form of hot coal in a pan, which was run up and down a piece of cloth held taut by two other people. In other areas of the World, people used glass, stones, mangles, and presses: none of these were heated and it must have taken an age!

It wasn’t until the middle ages that blacksmiths starting forging the flat iron, also known as sad (derived from the word ‘solid’) irons or smoothing irons. You had to have at least two in order to keep ironing at a reasonable rate. The flat part of each iron was heated. You then ironed a garment on a table or board until the first iron went cold and then you start using the second iron whilst the first iron is reheating.



Traditional Flat or Sad Iron

From a collector’s point of view, the flat irons were hand made and the designs differed from blacksmith to blacksmith; never mind country to country. Some of the designs are actually a work of art!

Many women started earning a few pennies by taking in other people’s laundry and ironing. It was a back backing job for very little return.

No steam, no flexes, no electricity….

How did you know if the iron was hot enough to use but not hot enough to burn clothes? Well, my Granny told me that she used to spit on the iron (it boils at lower temperature than pure water)… By the end of the ironing session (which would take all day) you had no saliva left!

Today, there are many Aga/ Rayburn oven owners who know the benefit of folding clothes, once washed, and leaving them on top of the Aga or in the warming oven. No need for ironing then, unless the cat also finds the warm spot in which case there is no contest, the cat wins!
What we needed was a self-heating flat iron. The first to arrive were charcoal filled irons and other types of fuel from ethanol to paraffin (kerosene). These were quite successful and are still used in some parts of the World today.


Vintage AGA oven


Antique Charcoal Filled Flat Iron

Inventors also tried the cordless flat iron, where the iron was heated on a stand connected to an energy supply e.g. gas and not dissimilar in principle to the modern day ironing centre. But it was Henry Seely and Dyer whom patented an electric flat iron in 1883.

The first commercially successful iron was made by Hotpoint in the 1920s. Initially, the irons were connected to the electricity supply via the light bulb ceiling socket! By the 1950s many people owned an electric iron, although they were still horrendously expensive. It probably only had three heat settings but was significantly better than the old sad iron!



1950s Electric Iron

In 1953, the year of Queen Elizabeth”s Coronation in the UK, you could still buy an iron without wires and flexes? Instead, you could use an iron directly heated by paraffin! The irons were made by Tilley , whom are probably better known for the paraffin ‘Tilley Lamp’.

I just love this 1953 advert for the iron: how times have changed! I wonder if Her Majesty had one to iron her coronation robes? The advert reads: –

New!, New!, New! Tilley Paraffin Pressure Domestic Iron. No Wires, -No Flexes.

Enjoy yourself in Coronation year! Do away with ironing day “blues” the Tilley way. The Tilley Paraffin Pressure Iron can give you more leisure and prevent frayed tempers in 1953! A completely self contained unit, it can be used in and out of doors, on holiday or at home. No wires or flexes to worry you; it saves time and money. Burns 4 hours on only 1/3rd pint of ordinary Paraffin. Finger-tip heat control and bevel-edged plate increases ironing efficiency. The streamlined cream enamelled body will last and last. In Coronation year and in the years that follow, Tilley Irons will prove themselves to be a friend to every housewife. Price 68/6 complete.

The design and functionality of the iron has changed considerably since the 1950s. Most modern irons seem to be able to do anything and everything, but I bet they won’t be considered as collectible as the old handmade irons of our industrial past.

Personally, I’ll be pleased once the self ironing/ hands-free irons (or robots) are cheap enough for us to have. Can’t be long to wait now! Just have a look at this SWASH (an invention from P&G and Whirlpool): it washes and irons clothes!



But wait, what if you want to be a non-crumpled camper? Do you take your fold away electric travel iron with you in your tent. No? Perhaps you need a 1953 paraffin heated iron in your suitcase!

Well readers, I hope you enjoyed my little meander through the development of the humble clothes iron?

Thank you to Eiffion for allowing me to guest blog and I hope to have a chat with you all again soon, if Eiffion invites me to his blog again….

Please give Karen a Visit

Another Guest post

Here’s a link to the Brighton Argus Story on Collectibulldogs and our exhibition


Facebook group creators you folks rock

Facebook Bulldogs


Thank you to all facebook group creators and members


Thank you Facebook 

Hi there my good readers I hope your all safe and well and ready to understand why I think and feel that Facebook is number one in the eyes of Collectibulldogs, not only does the format help with my views I’m also so lucky to of gained the respect of many group owners.


Full Facebook profile

There’s nothing more gratifying than being invited into a group by a member or even leader knowing I’m going to be promoting, in my eyes this is classed as Mutual acceptance and I feel totally privileged to be able to do this and in some groups even though not popular I’m the only one allowed to advertise this deal with the creators I’d because they know beforehand I’m not trying to sell anything to their members.

Half the battle is won straight away not only is it bulldog related posts but I do not sell anything either, and more and more people are warming to what is bringing bulldogs and collecting into the 21c, I get endorsed to post in some groups which I’m grateful for and I can always rely on many members to read my content.

Thank you creators

There are literally hundreds of groups on Facebook bulldog and otherwise so naming each creator would be a near impossible job, I did ask when I last posted if creators could contact me so that I had permission to use their names and put their links on here but as of yet no one got back to me, I’m hoping some read this and contact me to update the blog with their names for a proper thank you.

To all group creators and admin that have been allowing my Collectibulldogs posts in your groups we want to thank you very much indeed, we are are in the bulldog world one way or another and it’s appreciated that we are allowed to gain interest in our venture, the collection is now world known and all you kind excepting folk have helped to make that happen.

Our Collectibulldogs is your Collectibulldogs too and we are aiming for a community feel so wether your group creator a member of a group or even an artist we want to help so feel free to contact us, you could tell the world about your pooches, you maybe collecting and or even folks doing charity work all advertising is good advertising.


contact us if you want to blog advertise or promote your groups

Facebook and twitter

I’ve started using twitter as well as facebook now for a while and just like facebook I think it’s going to take a while to be truly excepted, again I’m new niche and folks are most properly confused as to what the website is about, and the up side is if I had a proper account that was active the results would be amazing as I’m at 70k followers ATM but I’m not sure why many don’t retweet my posts, this is a big shame as twitters algorithm is different to Facebook so only Quality top posts get to land on the main feed.

If your on twitter and Facebook I have my own group if you want to come and see what folks are up to in the collecting world or if you have a page we could swap page likes, I’m happy to like individual posts and give 5 star reviews, my own page is doing ok but again I seem to have a sharing problem but saying that there’s a few on both formats that have been kind to my accounts.

25th may sees a world first

I cannot go without saying how super excited I am about the exhibition opening on the 25th of this month, I felt proud writing a first when it came to the ebook but doesn’t compare to how I feel about the display, immortalising the Bulldog in object form was a great idea when I made the website but that’s different to actual visitors not 2 feet away from the display reading the info on the cards.

The exhibition will go into June and I will need to find out when my portion finishes but if your anywhere near Brighton this and next month we would love it If you could come and see the collection displayed in real life, I thought with so many items gone I’d have problems with my OCD but all seems fine and I feel ok with the pieces just being down the road.


I’ve started playing around with YouTube I cannot see bulldog collectibles trending but it helps when I’m making clip videos, here’s the last ones I made with an app I found on the iPad, to those that remember me mentioning mentor help I’m now on my third one she’s meant to be helping me gain interest and get my content out there so fingers crossed plz that this mentor can help.

So Creators and members thank you for letting me post in your groups and for reading my content I just wanted to the powers to be to know it’s appreciated, and remember if you read this and wish to be named let me know and I’ll update the article, blessings to all and collectors out there happy collecting

Facebook group

not long now



English bulldogs on display. Not long now


Display cabinet we get to use

English bulldogs on Display. Not long now

Hi there all I hope your all safe and well out there, it’s finally time folks the time is coming round to the worlds first English bulldog display being held at the end of may at Brighton museum, its upstairs at the back so I hope they put out directions.


Some display pieces were changed at the last minute

I was up there on Friday and as I was sitting there I remembered the days it used to be the old Brighton reference Library and a place I used to go to study and keep away from the bullies, it’s like I’ve gone full circle as the same room used to keep me safe is now going to house my English bulldog display.


Old reminders

I am rather privaliged to be using the display cabinet I will find out more about it but I do know it’s a listed piece, unlike my cabinets at home with blue tack and such over them is a different world to this grand display cabinet, it may of been made by a famous carpenter when the library was first built and it still has the glass dome ceilings I Remember daydreaming through when a school project question was vexing me.

getting display pieces packed

The home visit went well Thursday all the pricer pieces were packed up properly and signed off the sheet, I thought I might get separation anxiety where so many of my pieces have been taken but it all seems fine up till now. 


Curators lending a hand

I’m not sure if the display has a name or if I’m allowed to put Collectibulldogs and I also learned that there’s copyright laws for museums to adhere to, if pieces are after 1946 and branded I think permission has to be granted and research to see if the copyright has been renewed has to be looked at, this I’m guessing is for advertising 2D pieces and books, paintings.

If you can manage to make it to Brighton and come and see what will be bulldog history in the making brilliant but for all that obviously cannot make it I will be blogging on the event and I’m sure the museum will be too, if they do I will ask for the links as finding Collectibulldogs on the museum website is proving hard presently.

Visualise, all I can do for now

I think the cabinet I’m using for the display has been locked for a good few years so I think the pieces won’t go into the display cabinet till a few days before, most of the info has been done for the notes for each piece so it’s just waiting now, I’m glad things have sped up as I was getting impatient due to the time frame but hey who shouldn’t get a bit excited.

Thanking the museum

It goes without saying that Collectibulldogs wishes to thank Brighton museum for this opportunity and it’s great my first ever display is on local home soil, I do need to say that I’m not the only exhibiting display and this is part of a larger venture that I will blog about once I know what I can and cannot say and keep to the museums ephos on the right to privacy ie I may write about an exhibit artist and they may not want this so it’s best to get permission first.

Brighton Museum image

the door to tranquility

Whos coming 

The local paper and Brighton mayor I think are coming, I did ask my mp but he may need reminding, my bulldog friends that are local are coming and a few people that have been involved in my care since my discharge from the services said they are coming.  Does sound weird your dr coming to your display but some folks have taken a real interest in what I’ve created and want to see for themselves, just to make sure it’s real lol.

Bulldog rescue had the idea of a bulldog group shot but the museum wouldn’t let in bulldogs well any dogs except guide dogs, in this day and age a picture could be rendered to have bulldogs in front of the cabinet but I’d rather it looked real we will have to see.

Thank you from Collectibulldogs

Daily Brighton 

Our first thank you goes to daily Brighton or @DailyBrighton not only was we offered a free listing I explained my mental health and they graciously went ahead made me an account and even made my listing, I believe they went as far as to place it in the best place on their listings I mention this as Collectibulldogs is so niche it’s hard to find a category.

If your from Brighton or work remotely you should check them out and see if they still have their free offer on, it’s usually £30 so a great investment for your business and free too. The Daily Brighton

Singer Jon Moses 

Collectibulldogs was surprised this week when one of our celeb twitter followers gave us a shout out and shared a tweet too, Jon moses we do apologise for asking whom you were you see we are down south and your a northern lad. Jon moses has a following of over 1 million followers on twitter and is a stage singer and performer, in twitter land it’s not easy getting celebs to help the cause so it’s only fair its reciprocated.  More about Jon here

Finally phew

Well that’s it folks no more to do than just wait, pray for a good turn out and hope lots of people make their way to Brighton museum during the fringe festival to come and see what my fellow artist counterparts and myself have put together with the help of our project leader, the curators and of course the powers that be at the museum.


Pieces ready and wisely chosen

I hope to be there as much as possible and I hope many visitors sign or quote the big white bulldog, this bulldog is rather large and will be placed for all to sign, I’ll try and find some stickers so the younger ones may wish to stick on then it will be varnished so the names will forever be on there.

A few of my pieces I’ve messed around with in artgroup will be displayed to but you can just skip over them lol, and before I go I will point out that a bulldog installation was created by the artist Matt Smith and the grand cabinet at Preston manor was used, I will leave a picture I have and Also leave a link to this amazing feature. Matt Smith and that just leaves me to say until next time folks keep safe and happy collecting


Preston manor artist installation by Matt Smith

Museum related

Museum related Article


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