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

Asbestos toy sad iron with removable hood

This is Dover Manufacturing Company’s little “Asbestos” nickel-plated sad iron marked PAT. MAY 22, 1900 on the top. Only 3″ tall, it measures 4″ x 1 7/8″ and came complete with its own little ventilated stand/trivet.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral composed of soft, flexible fibers that are heat-resistant. A thin asbestos liner, applied inside the hood of these irons, served to contain heat within the solid base, keeping it hot longer. It also minimized the radiation and conduction of heat upwards, for the comfort of the person ironing.

The cover/hood/shell is removed by moving the slide bar to the center, then pulling straight up. To replace, push the cover over the base, then slide the bar to the side.

I purchased this little iron in the original box about 10 years ago. Although the cardboard box was heavily damaged, it had protected the contents very well. The base, marked ASBESTOS SAD IRON, would have been separately heated, then attached to the asbestos lined hood.

These irons were produced in large quantities and are relatively common. But this toy iron is unusual in that it’s in near mint condition with the original asbestos lining intact.

While the EPA has recognized asbestos as potentially hazardous since the 1970s, the United States remains one of the few countries in the world without an asbestos ban.

While no amount of exposure to asbestos can be guaranteed safe, exposure from a single small asbestos-lined iron should be negligible, especially with the hood in place. However, whenever opening a Dover Asbestos sad iron, check inside the hood for a liner. If asbestos is present, avoid touching it and wash your hands after handling.

Additional information

Complete documentation of this Asbestos sad iron and stand appears in Tuesday’s Children on p. 148, Figure 279 [a] and p. 250, Figure 471.

This article by HomeThingsPast is interesting. Asbestos Sad Irons – cool ironing days

PS: Dover Asbestos sad irons were offered in both toy and full sized models, as advertised on the following 3 1/2″ x 5″ post card. Toy irons came with one base, a hood and a stand. The most popular set for household use contained three larger heatable bases, a hood and a stand.

Patent No. 649,968

Patent 649,968 ~ the invention of Ole Tverdahl of Stoughton, Wisconsin ~ pertained only to the spring clamp that connected the body of the iron to its removable shell. He emphasizes this in the patent description: “I do not claim to be the inventor of the combination of the smoothing core or body of the sad-iron, with the heat-retaining shell and the non-heat conductor located between the core and the shell.”

Related Trivetology blog post

The Hatton double asbestos pad stand

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