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Charcoal Iron

Updated: Dec 1, 2022


Local historian Dennis Picard holding a charcoal box iron


This charcoal or charcoal box iron is of a style developed in the 19th century to replace the older “sad” or “flat” iron. The older irons would be heated on a trivet over hot embers, or on a stove, and used in pressing clothing. The sad irons were used in pairs so that one could be heating while the other was in use. Soot would have to be wiped from the bottom of the iron before it came in contact with cloth. Charcoal irons were kept hot by burning fuel inside their box-like body. No reheating or soot problems. The face shaped door allowed fresh air in to the fuel to control the rate of burn and the “chimney” kept the fumes away from the cloth and the person ironing.


Contributed by Dennis Picard, Local Historian

Originally published March 5, 2020

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