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. Late in the 19thC designers experimented with heat retaining fillings for these irons. William Coleman began selling Kerosene lanterns in 1900 in Kingfisher, Oklahoma, USA. He moved to Wichita, Kansas in 1902 and the company became world wide. The company also produced a range of cooking stoves and domestic irons. This spirit- fuelled flat iron was very popular in 1920s - 30s


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

A) spirit- fuelled, sad iron with chrome plated sole c1920, and metal trivet The iron is blue enamel with a white speckled body, with a hemispherical tank for the Coleman 'Lighting Petrol' that provided the heat for smoothing the material
B) Coleman Fuel measuring can and funnell

Inscriptions & markings

Metal Trivet/stand " COLEMAN" ;
Petrol can " COLEMAN" / MEASURING CAN / for INSTANT LIGHTING IRON/ with printed instructions