Grace & Favor – A Life Worth Living

Friday, October 01, 2010

Meet Ms. Mangle

Oh how I love my old GE mangle iron.  I know that most people don't even know what a mangle is but I can tell you I will morn the day that mine gives up the ghost. I think my little beauty was probably purchased originally in the early 50's.  Ms. Mangle is so old (how old is she?) she still sports a cotton cloth electrical cord.  You can see just a little piece of the cord on the right of this picture in the background. I bought her at an estate sale, I asked the person in charge if the mangle worked, she didn't even know what it was let alone if it worked.  I was thrilled to leave the sale with Ms. Mangle for only $10.  

I love linens; fine napkins, beautiful tablecloths and linen and cotton table runners, antique pillowcases, you name it.  All are wonderful jewelry when setting a nice table or a beautiful guest room but the down side is that they have to be ironed, yes that dreaded word.....IRONED 

I am not one to pull out the ironing board and iron. My oxford shirts go to the cleaners, I have a steamer I use for everything that needs a little pressing that doesn't fit the criteria for Ms. Mangle.  Today Ms. Mangle managed to finish with perfection thirty six napkins, two large tablecloths, a set of pillow cases and one table runner.  All this was accomplished in about forty five minutes.  I have no idea if that is faster than using a conventional iron but I do know that Ms.  Mangle does a better job without a doubt.

My pre-iron secret is to freeze my linens.  I was taught and I know I'm dating myself that you "sprinkle" your ironing with water rolling each piece into a tube shape as you go, then all the pieces were placed in a plastic bag and put in the refrigerator over night.  This is a good process that will give you nice crisp linens when ironed.  The reason I put my "sprinkled" linens in the freezer rather than the refrigerator is a lesson well learned many years ago.  Let's just say that should your rolled up linens in the plastic bag get pushed to the back of the frig behind the container of Cool Whip that has turned into a science experiment the linens will mildew and that my friend is a problem.  I turned to the freezer to insure that I wouldn't have mildew on my linens should I forget them for awhile they would still be fresh when ironed.

So my friends, go forth and iron by whatever means you have but if you are a lover of crisply ironed linens then be on the lookout for your own Ms. Mangle


southerninspiration said...

I'd love to have one of those, Char, but I don't know if I've ever seen one! What a lucky lady you are for $10!!!

Designs on 47th Street said...

Well this old broad (is that how you spell it?) learned something today! I don't own ~~~and didn't realize how great they are ~~~a Ms. Mangle. I will be on the lookout as I love the same things as you! :)

I had forgotten the refrigerator/freezer trick for ironing.

Great post!


Marlis said...

my mom had one when i was growing up and i've been searching for one since.. i love them. I know that tip for the cold linens.. you actually don't have to use starch on them this way either.

Susan (My Place to Yours) said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog -- so I could find yours! I love vintage linens, too, and I use a vintage Ironrite ironer (similar function to your Ms. Mangle) to iron all of my linens. I remember my Mother sprinkling linens and putting them in the freezer when I was as little girl, but I rarely do that. For me, when I find a little time to iron, I'd better do it right then -- so I prefer to iron them damp/wet. I recently wrote a post about ironing vintage linens on my blog:

Tricia@The Dull and the Dutiful said...

Great post! I'd say that's amazing, to iron that many items in 45 minutes! I'll be on the lookout for a mangle now.

Paula said...

I learned something today. I had heard of sprinkling linens with water but not the step of putting them into the freezer. I'll bet that more people would use their linens if they had a mangle to make ironing easier.

sheila from life @ #17 said...

I think you should give a step-by-step demo of the use of a mangle on this blog so I can decide if I want to track one down on ebay :)...pleeeeezeee

jmw said...

Oh my gosh, I remember mangles! My mother had one. I'm remembering that she had a much larger one that was twice your size. I like the smaller size that you have - it's more portable. Mom couldn't move hers around, it was stationary on the floor. I can still remember her sitting on a chair mangling and it was in the '50's.