Our town library regularly invites local collectors to show their treasures in its entry hall: once we saw a collection of elephant figurines, another time antique pipe, this sort of things. Yesterday we bumped into a collection of old irons: not very large, but very interesting. Speaking about innovation, such exhibitions, of the evolution of certain technology over time, often vividly demonstrate the new things rarely invented at once, but rather a result of multiple loops of tinkering and gradual improvements (=”creative use”).
For instance, the old irons above were surely not very easy to hold – if the iron is hot, its handle is hot too (and when it’s not, then the body is not hot enough to iron the fabric). Today designers would start searching for various thermoisolators, to separate the handle and the body. In the past they found a very different workaround – the iron with TWO bodies (also cutting the waiting time).
It’s really a pity that for in cases we already have no clue what was the dilemma, the problem the forces them to come with such a solution (and it was not even too long ago, I guess my grandma could have used such an iron):
This one lovely, it evokes an image of a lord who is ironing his topper, in rush before the ball 🙂
I put few more lovely iron to my set on Flickr, History of Technology: Irons