Almost looks like new

Last year, in the fall I think it was, we got the idea to turn the old well house into a chicken house.  This entailed cleaning everything out and storing it elsewhere.  While we were at it I took a peek into the attic, if you will, and found an old iron moldering away up there.

To put is succinctly it was NASTY

I zip locked it that evening and let is sit till today.

I scrubbed, rubbed, polished and even ran it under the water in the sink.  I’m NEVER, EVER, going to plug it in, so why not?

I used stainless steel polish, aluminum foil to rub out the rust, and tons of elbow grease!  I was determined to make her shine.

To clean the base-plate I had to remove it…

I almost wished I hadn’t, but was very glad for the intuition on bagging the thing months back.


Lots of dead spiders in there.

This didn’t come out as nicely as the rest of the surfaces, but it revealed the manufacturer.  Manning-Bowman of Meridian Connecticut.

So, I went online and searched.  I found an iron that was exactly like mine, but no details on the Manning-Bowman MFG.  I persisted.  And came up with an old ad!

Meet the Iron that Wags its Tail!


My iron had lost the logo imprinted on its base.  Too bad as it would have saved me quite a bit of time today.  But hey, I found it!

So now my 1940 Streamlined beauty is all cleaned, shiny, and sitting up on display with my cast iron beauties collected from family.

Oh, and don’t let her sleek looks fool you… she’s pretty heavy in her own right at 4.75 pounds!

I think she looks pretty good!

I do wonder why the previous owner wrapped up the broken iron and saved it don’t you?  Never-the-less, I was glad to discover it last fall.

Question:  How many of you remember the shaker top water applicators for ironing before steam irons came on the scene?

NOTE:  The original ad was found HERE.   Do have a look there are several oldies but goodies regarding housework in the 40s.


27 thoughts on “Almost looks like new

  1. countrygirllifeonthefarm says:

    I have one in my “collection”. I also used one as a teenager and lived at home. On laundry day as the clothes dried mom had me bring them in and lightly sprinkle the ones that would need ironing and the next day while we were in school mom ironed out all the wrinkles or I did in the summer months when we were out of school. I had forgotten about that chore until I read your blog today!! Thanks for the memories!

    • Lynda says:

      My favorite trick for sprinkled laundry (esp. linen) is to sprinkle them, put them into a large plastic bag, and then into the refrigerator overnight. Next day when it is hot, you pull them out of the bag one by one, enjoy their coolness, and the wrinkles really GO away fast!

  2. Nellie says:

    I had a sprinkler thingy also. I wonder where it is?? Steam irons are not as much fun but still I don’t like to iron. My husband gets to wear seasonal shirts, i.e. short sleeved ones , once a season, need to get busy before fall gets here! Like your collection.

    • Lynda says:

      Ironing clothing is not my favorite activity either, Nellie. Not even quilt fabric after it is washed. However, I can press quilt blocks all day and never mind it at all!

      We wear a lot of soft cottons in summer and jersey fabrics in winter with our blue jeans. Which brings up another dinosaur item for laundry; the pants frames that you placed into the pant legs to stretch them into submission before hanging to dry. My mother used them on father’s jeans when I was very young. No ironing needed. 😉 OK, I wasn’t imagining to find this, but it seems that they still exist. None look as sturdy as Mother’s were, but they look to do the job!

  3. quilt32 says:

    This is a wonderful iron now that you have worked so hard on it. I knew from the ad that it had to be the 1940s era. I’m going to check out the others you mentioned.

    I also still have a sprinkler top/bottle which I haven’t used in years but it does do a good job.

    • Lynda says:

      Lillian, it would be even better if it worked, but that was more and scary work than I wanted to get into. Still, it is nice eye candy and I have saved it from the land fill for a few more years.

      I would like to use my sprinkler bottle just for old-times-sake, but the bottle has been used for target practice and the cork is stuck into the bottle! That makes it also eye candy. 😉

  4. tialys says:

    That iron has come up a treat thanks to all your hard work. I love researching vintage finds and some of those ads are so funny aren’t they?
    I have three or four old French cast iron types similar to those in your collection and I use them as pattern weights so decorative, interesting and useful – who could ask for more?

    • Lynda says:

      Lynn, in my research I found some very amazing irons out there. But one I could probably never afford, even should I find it, would be this one: The image is the second one, is clickable and worth it!
      Imagine it, a clear Pyrex handle and glowing color coming up from the base! It came in clear, ruby red, cobalt and green. The article is quite interesting!

  5. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    “Why (she) put it away”? Because one never threw anything away… You never know when you might have need of it (or parts of it; ) What a beaut, Lynda; nice job!!
    Oh, and I recall an old (also green: ) Sprite bottle with the cork & sprinkler. (Probably still tucked away in a cupboard at the farm, LOL) No, correction! It was a 7Up bottle: )
    Oh wait! I just remembered another thing about using those old irons… You’d run them over a sheet of waxed paper (and then an old tea towel; ) every now and again to keep the sole plate in tip top shape: )

    • Lynda says:

      Deb, funny you should mention the waxed paper. That’s what I used to shine it up with when I was all done cleaning. 😉 Oh, yes, and thank you for calling it waxed paper! That is one of my modern day pet peeves. It can’t be wax and paper at the same time. The wax is applied to the paper as a coating making it waxED. We have become lazy speakers and the corporations/manufacturers have given it credence in their product packaging and ads. (Don’t get me started)

      • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

        LOL, oh hey; I am with you all the way on this one! Or how about the trend of turning any noun into an insta-verb by simply adding an “ed” – like I have been “tasked” with blahblahblah…
        D’you happen to recall “PolSpeak” from George Orwell’s, “1984”?

  6. katechiconi says:

    I did all the laundry for our family of 6 from the age of about 10 (my mother had us well trained…), and I didn’t sprinkle. Shirts were hung on the line on hangers, and brought in while still very damp to be ironed straight away and then aired till fully dry on their hangers. Sheets, tablecloths and napkins were hung folded, so that they retained a bit of moisture, and again, brought in still damp. It wasn’t what my mother had taught me, but she had to concede it worked a treat. Just as well, considering I was doing over 30 shirts a week…

    • Lynda says:

      Kate, I’m not certain if sharing this is a good thing, but…

      I would have appreciated your mother’s work ethic. In our house the laundry did get washed and dried, then mom dumped it into the hall closet. If you wanted to wear it you had to dig it out and iron it yourself. Well, that is with the exception of dad’s shirts and slacks for work. Those were ironed by her and hung right away. It was such an irritating practice that once out on my own everything went onto a hanger right out of the dryer! I still don’t iron unless I’m going to wear it. I suppose that makes me just short of a heathen? 😉 About ironing sheets and towels. I never knew people did that until we went down to San Diego to visit with Bob’s Aunt Betty. I was amazed to find her towels and sheets had been ironed! I thought she was over zealous, but I can understand the practice now that I work with antique linens. It would become habit after all those years.

  7. Deb says:

    You did a lovely job on cleaning up the old iron! Love the ad. I can remember those sprinkling tops, I just use a plastic spray bottle now.

    • Lynda says:

      Thank you, Deb! I use a plastic spray bottle too, but only when the steam iron will not do it alone. Large cuts of fabric get sprayed and put into a plastic bag to let the moisture work through the fabric. I also do this with linen or else it won’t be ironed into submission!

  8. shoreacres says:

    I’ve got an old iron that my mom used. Of course I found it on eBay — it’s a 1920-30’s General Electric Hotpoint Calrod model 159F61 “R” Dry Iron. I’ve been using it as a doorstop.

    I do remember those sprinklers. Ours was a clear soda bottle, with a red and white stopper with a cork. And of course we sprinkled, rolled, and refrigerated — and like Deb, we used waxed paper to slick things up. (We used the iron to press colored fall leaves between sheets of waxed paper, too. It was great fun.)

    You sure did a fine job on that iron. Mine’s in pretty good shape, but thank goodness we don’t have to use those any more!

    • Lynda says:

      Linda, that was a beauty of an iron and looks heavy too! I am amazed that the cording was removable. Did the cording wear out so easily? Did it make it easier to store? Ha, do you still have the cording?

      We did similar things with waxed paper, but my favorite was making stained glass windows at Christmas. Shaved crayon bits melted between two sheets of the WP and then fitted into frames of construction paper to look like church windows. And, yes, it was great fun.

      I could handle one like your mother’s, or the one I worked on, but would never survive using one that had to be heated on the wood stove! I’m certain that all my things would be scorched and tattooed with the iron’s imprint! 😯

    • Lynda says:

      Ha-ha-ha, because I choose to do the crazy things that others would pass right by… or bin? But seriously, it was a fun project.

      Well, Julie, you never cease to amaze me either. Your strength and inner beauty are an example to me. I hope to have your grace when it is needed. ❤

  9. Animalcouriers says:

    What a transformation! A friend has just published a book about things he found when he cleared out his mother’s house. There was an iron very much like your one, in it’s original box and condition!

    • Lynda says:

      Hello Annie! Yes, that would be an awesome find; wouldn’t it? Can you share the name of his book? It would be fun to see what similar things he found, as compared to what we found in Bob’s mother’s house when we cleaned it out.

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