Early electric iron, c 1880.

Image number: 10325625

Early electric iron, c 1880.

This early smoothing iron of unusual construction used an electric spark as its heat source. The soleplate is heated by passing a current across carbon arc electrodes. The hazards of fire and injury to the user made this method dangerous and short-lived. In 1881 the first electric iron using an element of thin carbon sticks was invented by Henry W Seely of New York. He obtained a patent for it in the following year.

Image number:
Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library
Date taken:
20 October 2003 17:16
Image rights:
Science Museum

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