Saturday, June 16, 2012

Mrs Potts and her Sad Irons

Recently we purchased a collection of the famous Mrs Pott's Sad Irons and it got me to wondering who really was Mrs Potts? Did she really exist or was she just a marketing name? And why so sad ? So thanks to the wonders of Google I have found my answers which I thought I would share for all those history geeks out there like me. Below is a picture of Mrs Potts and yes she was a real lady. A real lady who like me hated ironing.
She apparently used to say. "May I die on a Monday so I can be spared the Ironing on a Tuesday!"
She patented her Iron in 1871 in Iowa in the US. What made the Iron special was its unique design to retain heat. The iron was a cast shell that was filled with plaster which retains heat for longer. They were sold as sets of three with a detachable handle, so you could have one in use and two others on the stove heating up. Below is an advertisement from the time.
In the first two years of production they had sold over 5 million sets worldwide. I bet the thing Mrs Potts enjoyed most about her success was no longer needing to do the ironing herself. Oh but why were they sad irons. Sad is apparently a very old word meaning solid, heavy and dense. 
Today of course you can't beat a Mrs Potts' Iron to use as a door stop or paper weight and I for one think Mrs Potts would get a chuckle out of this and think it a perfectly suitable thing for an Iron, given her dislike for the chore.


  1. Cute post! Isn't it interesting how the meaning of words change over time, or lose their various meanings?

    I think those irons are an amazing piece of social history.

  2. Thanks for the lesson, I've never been lucky enought to come acroos any of these!

  3. How great is that? I think ironing is very sad and I avoid it at all costs. I don't mind a wrinkle of two.
    Such an interesting story :)

  4. How interesting! I hate ironing too and rarely do it, would love one of those irons though! X

  5. Wow that is interesting. I love a bit of history and knowing the story behind things.
    We use to have a cat called Mrs Pots - as a kitten she got her head stuck inside a small pot and we thought we'd never get it off - the name stuck!

  6. Hi Kath, Thanks for sharing this! I love the stories behind the objects we find - always so fascinating. Amazing. Jennifer.

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