Sunday, March 12, 2006

American Beauty

American Beauty is the brand name of this gorgeous item I bought on Friday. Now, you may think that this is a boring subject, but when I notice how much time is spent on the QuiltArt list talking about the virtues of various brands of irons, it seems to be very important to a lot of people. When all the best brands are mentioned, this one is noticeably absent.On a whim, I stopped at an estate sale looking expressly for an old non-steam iron to use for discharge and ironing wax. There it was, in the kitchen pantry, winking up at me. Well, not quite -- it was pretty grubby and so was everything else in this ramshackle house whose ceilings were falling down. Someone will buy it for $800,000 and put half again as much into the place and they will have a fabulous abode. Apparently, two old women who were sisters, lived here forever and never did anything to the house, which was built aroud the turn of the last century. Here is a little history of American Beauty Electric Irons, just in case you are interested. This factory is now abandoned. The American Electrical Heater Company of Detroit, Michigan was established in 1894 and manufactured household and commercial irons, as well as soldering irons, until going out of business in the early 1990s. This company manufactured a variety of electric irons over the years but their American Beauty line was an American favorite! Its emblazoned name became the inspiration for German film maker Dieter Marcello's award winning film American Beauty. You turn the dial on top from off to maximum heat (or anyplace in between) and watch the needle below it go all the way up to linen. Let me tell you, this iron is hotter at the minimum setting than my current irons are at the hottest! And because it is not only HOT but heavy (it weighs 4.5 lbs) it takes the wrinkles out without steam. The downside is, of course, that not only does it not shut off by itself, you had better unplug it every time you are finished using it because it takes about an hour to cool down. Look at this gorgeous lucite handle! Apparently their translucent amber and ruby Lucite handle irons were so beautifully designed that they were once featured in an exhibit titled Masterpieces of American Design held at the Baltimore Museum of Art. This one was manufactured in 1947. Now that I know how special it is, I can't bear to use this little beauty with discharge paste: I may use it instead to iron my hand-embroidered linen tablecloths.

10 comments:

Gerrie said...

I have an old non-steam iron for the studio, but it is not nearly as dear as yours.

mary m. said...

What a find! That truly is a beauty...and would make a good weapon if a stranger sneaks up behind you...

Helen Suzanne said...

lol @ mary's comment. i've looked for a decent flat iron over here and you just can't get them new. Well done on such a great find!

Rayna said...

I think I'll start a collection. Warm weather brings yard sales, so I'll go out sleuthing.

Caitlin said...

SWWWOOOOOOOOOOOOON!!! That iron is so beautiful!

Karoda said...

You did an excellent sales pitch...I feel like I need one now...it was the history lesson behind it that sold me :) New is not always improved, eh?

Judy said...

It is a beauty, and I love that it gets sooooo hot, but the weight of an iron is the most important thing to me. Like Karoda said, you did an excellent sales job, so now I will haunt all estate sales and not be happy until I have one of my very own!! LOL The handle is the best!!! Enjoy your find.

Claire said...

I love my iron :-) not that I iron my clothes much LOL. I had imagined the film was named after the rose 'American Beauty', interesting!
Cheers
Claire

Barbara at the Jersey Shore said...

I have a bid in on ebay for an American Beauty iron like yours. I purchased an old iron 2 years ago and love it for fusing and it is also good for building strength in one's arms. No wonder I disliked, NO hated, ironing when I was growing up....it was exhausting!
My iron is labeled "General Mills" Tru Heat and dates from 1944.

Melly n David said...

I just bid on and won one of these irons and it is all because of you!