There are historical records that indicate that the Chinese were the first to put hot iron to fabric and achieve a smooth result. In bygone days clothes were made of fur and heavy materials such as velvet, none of which tolerated a hot iron and did not crease to a noticeable extent anyway. The Chinese, producers of such luxury materials as silk needed a tool to improve the finished appearance and this is probably how the tradition of ironing certain fabrics started.
What we do know for certain is that Henry Seely patented the world’s first electric iron in 1882. The ironing board itself was patented by an African American named Sarah Boone in 1892. So what should we look for in an ironing board?
Types of Ironing Board for Specific Tasks
The majority of ironing boards are collapsible devices that come with a cloth covered board so that we can iron wherever we wish, storing the ironing board away neatly when we have finished with it.
Today’s ironing boards come in a number of designs. The most common is the fold away ironing board that most of us use every day.
Compact / surface mounted
There are a range of compact ironing boards that can be mounted upon another surface such as a kitchen worktop.
Sleeve boards are designed to insert into the sleeve of a garment, providing a firm surface upon which to press the sleeve material.
Quality of Construction
All ironing boards should be sturdy in construction. Nothing is more frustrating than a flimsy board that wobbles during use. When purchasing an ironing board it always pays to go for the best quality board you can afford. There are many well established brands such as the Addis ironing board – click here for further information.
If you purchase a board of an adjustable height make sure the adjustable catches stay firmly in place when the height is set.
Any board should have a space for safely setting down the iron. The iron rest should be formed of good quality heat resistant material. Some iron rests even come with a bracket into which the iron clicks for added safety.
With the ever present risk of catching and burning the iron flex, some boards have a special guide, designed to keep the iron flex out of harm’s way, whilst minimising any chafing. It is essential that you regularly check the flex for any signs of wear and have it professionally replaced (or replace the iron) if any of the insulation appears to be damaged.
Ironing boards come with covers attached but there are many ironing board covers that can be purchased separately. These include covers made from heat resistant material and come in a number of different thicknesses.
This article was written by Jaye Staddon, a freelance writer and mother who takes an interest in household goods. She highly recommends finding a good quality ironing board to make this household task far easier and quicker. For more information on her favourite tool – the Addis ironing board click here.