The Chinese are among the first in recorded history to have used the idea of the iron and the application of heat to remove wrinkles from clothes. The Museum's collection charts the history of the basic principle - the need to heat the metal surface.
This starts with the flat iron whose disadvantage lay in it cooling down too quickly, a problem overcome by the box iron and it's heated metal block (several of these blocks could be on the go at one time). Other sources of heat include gas irons and those using methylated 'spirits' which would have been used for a considerable time after the patent of the election iron in 1882.
One of the 'coolest' and trendiest irons in the collection must be the portable travelling iron - a spirit iron that folds down into a small leather carrying box. Given the small size of the iron you would not need to have been in a hurry to complete the job!
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