Vintage Irons

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Vintage or antique irons are great to use when quilting pick them up at GoodwillHave you ever used a vintage iron for your quilting? They are very heavy compared to new irons which to me really seems to help set the seams. There isn’t a auto-off so you have to make sure you always turn them off when done using.

I recently picked up both of these from a Goodwill store when we were in Elk River, MN.  The silver one is made by General Mills and the black one is made by Presto and is a steam/dry model. I paid $3.99 for the General Mills model and $4.99 for the Presto iron. They both work!

Vintage irons from Goodwill

Something I didn’t notice until we got home (I still would have bought the iron) is there is no way you can stand this iron up! I think there must have been a plate or something that the iron sat on. Have any of you seen a iron like this? It is a little rusty but so neat!

Vintage iron from Goodwill

Update: I am so excited, I received this comment about my iron!

Hi Connie! I think your General Mills iron lays on its side when at rest. That’s the purpose of the ‘wings’ on each side, to hold the iron off the ironing surface.

I took a couple photos to show what she is talking about.

Old heavy weight iron has wings on the side to hold it up

I didn’t turn on the iron but did lay it on it’s side. I don’t think I would want to leave it like this for too long as there is only about a 1/2 inch clearance.

Old heavy weight iron has wings on the side to hold it up

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The iron I have been using all the time is made by General Electric. We bought it from a antique shop in Minnesota a couple years ago and it is wonderful to use. I have a new iron that I use for pressing my clothes or backings for a quilt and I always have to laugh as the first time I go to pick up the iron I almost loose it as it is so lightweight!

I keep my vintage iron on a separate surge protector cord that has a light. Once I figure out exactly where everything will stay in my new studio, I’ll have Builder Bob do a separate switch for a light and the outlet like I had in my quilt room. I knew if I left the room and one particular light was on……so was the iron.

Vintage or antique irons are great to use when quilting pick them up at Goodwill

Have you ever used a vintage iron? One of the ways I earned money when I was growing up was doing the ironing. I remember I got 5 cents for my dad’s short sleeved shirts and 10 cents for long sleeved shirts. Gosh……this was 50 years ago!!! Everything back then was cotton so you can imagine how much ironing there was to do in a family with 6 kids. Funny thing is……I still enjoy ironing.

If you find any vintage irons, you will want to be sure the cord is safe to use and not frayed. I am fortunate that Builder Bob is also Electrician Bob!
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I found a iron on Amazon that reminds me of the vintage ones and it had great reviews as it is a little heavier than many of the new ones. It doesn’t have a smooth soleplate. You might want to check it out if you would prefer the safety of a new iron. This one isn’t very expensive either!
Classic Black & Decker Iron

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  1. John Conway says:

    Hi Connie, Glad to see others appreciate old appliances. Don’t see an old refrig in my future but do love my GM iron. There is a stand/plate GM made for the iron. 2 min on ebay and you will see plenty. I just picked up a cast iron trivit for the iron as I don’t like the wings. Notice, I picked up a trivit but have not tried it yet so no report. When you go to eBay you will also notice a very retro steam attachment. Had to have one. Report to follow. I have 8 sister and 2 brothers. All had to wear uniforms to school. When permeant press came in Mom jumped for joy. You want to wear cotton, you will iron cotton. God bless Moms.

  2. I used a General Mills iron all my growing up years and yes, the wings are meant to support it as it is layed on it's side . As I was clearing my mom's house out when she moved to a nursing home, I was thrilled to not overlook how fabulous it was that I got to take it home with me. I love it so much!

  3. Thank you very much for all your suggestions on this website. Your shares are very interesting and very rewarding. Congratulations.

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  4. I learned to iron to help Mama. There were 5 big men in our family and me and Mama. Plenty of cotton shirts and denim jeans every week. Starched with cooked starch. No steam iron in our house. Mama "sprinkled them down" and I ironed them dry. Like you say…..that was 50 (or more) years ago. I learned to love to iron and see how fast I could finish. No AC in the summer but many more shirts. Thank you for this memory. It just came out of nowhere.

  5. Afton Warrick says:

    Interesting and previously unbeknownst to me information. I'll have to pass on a vintage iron for my personal use though. Not having auto-off is a deal breaker.

  6. Yep…ironed with these for years. The new one's just don't even come close to doing the same job. 🙂

  7. Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow says:

    oh these were fun to see! Last year I had to buy an iron because my old one broke down…but it had lasted about 20 years ! Now these REALLY vintage ones were so interesting 🙂

  8. I was going to suggest a silicone plate, but I see Diannia has you covered there.

  9. Connie, I have an extra silicone ironing plate if you want it. Let me know iand I will run it over. Finishing up a couple of tops and cleaning up my mess and hope to get back in my sewing room by the end of the week.

  10. Createology says:

    I completely understand your love of vintage irons…they did such a great job. My current irons have so many issues I don't care for…especially that they shut off before I can even get my seams sewn. I, like you, earned money for groceries by doing other people's ironing. 25 cents for men's heavy chino pants…so much work for so little money but it was honest work. I still enjoy ironing!

  11. Frog Quilter says:

    I have two vintage irons and it's all I use. No new ones get hot enough. I have even changed the cord. Easy Pesy!

  12. While I totally agree with the merit of the heavy iron there are a couple of things I don't like about it. First, my current pressing situation is such that using the iron would be very laborious (in a weight lifting sort of way). Even more important (to me) is I hate grappling with the cord. It's always in the way no matter what I do.
    I found this technique on Pinterest. I'm not sewing much these days but am really anxious to try it with my CORDLESS (but very lightweight) iron.

  13. I recently purchased a vintage iron – the Betty Crocker Model (General Mills). I love that it doesn't have steam and DOESN'T have steam holes; the weight is a plus. I also think it gets especially hot. Yes, you are supposed to place it on it's side between uses as you showed in one of the pictures. I purchased a silicone ironing plate a few years ago. Don't remember where but I'm sure it was probably just at one of the discount stores. It's shaped just like the sole of an iron. I use this to lay my iron on it's side. It protects the ironing surface and makes me feel much better. 🙂 If you want, email me and I can take and send you a picture of it. I don't have a blog to share the picture on. flmeyers at gmail dot com

  14. Timely post, Connie. Working on these last quilts, I have noticed that the irons I use do not make a sharp press and I have to press the pieces more. I will be on the look-out for something new. I did see a couple of vintages ones at the GW's in the QC yesterday but didn't think about them. There were also a lot of newer ones but they either had the big holes, or messed up bottoms with gunk on them. YUCK!

  15. Havplenty says:

    I would so worry about the heating elements in these vintage irons but that is me. I had an iron from about 12 years ago (one of the expensive heavy ones) that cooked itself from the inside even though I had it on a surge protector. I sent it back to the manufacturer for a refund.

    They do look interesting though.

    tushay3 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  16. Samplings from Spring Creek says:

    Ugh ironing–not one of my favorite tasks.

  17. Hi Connie! I think your General Mills iron lays on its side when at rest. That's the purpose of the 'wings' on each side, to hold the iron off the ironing surface.

  18. I have a vintage GE iron I use in my sewing room. I bought it about 12 years ago for about $10 in an antique mall and I LOVE it. Yes, you have to be careful to unplug it.. I have it on the same plug as the light over my ironing table, so I remember to unplug it. But it is a great size, never turns off, and has a nice smooth soleplate.

  19. That GE iron is so interesting. I love the comment that it is suppose to lie on its side. That is an odd angle for your wrist movements. Like you, I still love ironing.

  20. I have the classic Black and Decker and the steam holes are sharp and get caught on the edge of the fabric and ruffle it up. Maybe they have fixed that by now as I bought mine about 5 years ago. The only thing I can use it for is yardage. On piecing it catches the edges and makes a mess of them.