Historical information

Sad-irons or "solid" irons were made by blacksmiths and used to smooth out material by pressing the hot iron over it. A piece of sheet -iron was placed over the kitchen fire and the irons placed on it could be heated whilst remaining clean of ash.. The women used 2 irons - one heating while the other was used. Thick cloth or gloves protected their hands from the hot irons. The handle was removed from the cool iron and re- attached to remove the hot iron from the fire. The cool iron was replaced on the fire or stove to heat again. These irons were cleaned with steel wool to prevent them marking the material. If the iron was too hot the material would scorch. Most homes set aside one day for ironing and some large households had an ironing room with a special stove designed to heat irons. However, most women had to work with a heavy, hot iron close to the fireplace even in summer.


These sad irons remind us of the difficult circumstances experienced in their daily routines by the pioneers and early settlers of Moorabbin Shire. The family of Miss M Curtis were early settlers in Moorabbin Shire.

Physical description

Sad-iron, domestic, flat, cast iron, Silvester's Patent, No 6, Salter, England, c. 1890-1900s
A sad iron made from cast iron was heated over a fire or on a stove and used for pressing clothing and table ware

Inscriptions & markings

SILVESTER'S/ PATENT/ SALTERS / No 6 with the pretzel & a arrow going through the centre