Collecting, cleaning, displaying, researching, and appreciating TRIVETS and related go-withs!

The Enterprise “Baby Centennial” iron

Have you ever seen anything so tiny and intricately formed? This miniature Enterprise iron is described on p.143 of “Tuesday’s Children” by Judy Politzer (1977). At only 7/8″ long, it’s cast of nickel-plated brass. On the bottom is the inscription ENTERPRISE MFG. Co. PHILADA.

In 1871 Mary Florence Potts patented an improvement on the household sad iron. Each set came with several double-pointed bases and a detachable wood “Cold Handle”. The Enterprise Manufacturing Company of Philadelphia acquired Mary Florence Potts’ iron patent and soon became a leading producer of household sad irons. Here’s one of their trade cards.


The Centennial International Exhibition of 1876 was the first official World’s Fair in the United States. Held in Philadelphia PA, it celebrated the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The Enterprise Mfg. Co. gave away these tiny “Baby Centennial” working models at their booth at the 1876 Exposition. The handle detaches from the base, just like the full sized Mrs. Potts iron, by sliding the tiny latch.

PS: I sold my Enterprise Baby Centennial (on eBay) in September 2016 for $125. I trust the new owner will enjoy it as much as I did!

5 comments on “The Enterprise “Baby Centennial” iron

  1. Angie Ray-Jones
    January 2, 2017

    I was fortunate to find one of these in the bottom of a box at an auction paid $1. for whole box. Had a sm glass coffee pot I sold on ebay for $350 to Japan. The iron win I found it I didn’t know what it was listed for $20 lady in England sent me the article about it & bid $200. at end of sale sold for just under $500. This was in 1999. You never know what people cram in boxes auctions don’t even look at that can bring happiness to others. It had sat in my desk drawer months! I even wore it a few times as a necklace charm. Bought the box cause of 1 bundle of silk flowers in a rose pink.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lynn Rosack
      January 3, 2017

      What an amazing find! Yes, top prices were being paid for rare irons and trivets back in the late 1990s-2008. Ever since the stock market crash of 2008 and resulting global recession, antique prices have taken a hit- as evidenced by the difference in sale prices between your little iron and mine. But there will always be interest in something unusual, like this little Centennial iron. Thanks for sharing!


  2. Ej Bogusch
    October 12, 2016

    I would loose that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lynn Rosack
      October 13, 2016

      Yes, it could be easy to misplace! I displayed it in a small glassed curio cabinet along with other small irons and trivets.


  3. marianbeaman
    October 11, 2016

    Without the dime I could never had imagined the intricacy of this iron. Wonderful collection here, Lynn.

    Liked by 1 person

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Renningers Extravaganza in Mt Dora, Florida is a great place to find laundry day collectibles! There are three upcoming events: November 16, 17 & 18, 2018; January 18, 19 & 20, 2019; and February 15, 16 & 17, 2019.

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