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Henry Seely

According to the History Channel, June 6, 1882 was the day the electric iron was patented by a man named Henry Seely.

I share a birthday with The Electric Iron!

Unlike me, it’s a humble appliance, clever in design, utilitarian, cumber-sleek, and easy to use.

Once a year, I reach for it high on a shelf above the washing machine and marvel that the steam-reservoir water from last year’s reunion still sloshes inside. Apparently there is a corner of my laundry closet where the laws of atmospheric thermodynamics do not apply. Please send grants to me so I can further study this phenomenon, preferably in $20 bills.

I plug in my iron and order kids to back off! Yucky hot! Bad owies and big troubles for everyone who fails to respect mommy’s iron. After they’ve scampered away, I use my iron to gently apply the goofy VBS character mascot iron-on transfers to plain white and pre-washed t-shirts. I do not have an ironing board. I use the kitchen table, which I cover with beach towels.

After a light scorching and a crisp seal of the edges, I unfurl the t-shirt and admire my handiwork. Yep, there is a grinning cactus/googly-eyed coconut/sunglass-wearing chimp only slightly askew. The kids won’t care. The shirts end up as pajamas, passed down from big kids to little kids over the years until the toothy grins of Christian vegetables erode back down to the weave of clean cotton, bare again.

Henry Seely thought of easing toil and trouble, but never of a mother who ironed once a year.

19 comments to Henry Seely

  • Happy Birthday!!! I hope you have a wonderful day!

  • Have the happiest of birthdays!

  • Happy Birthday, Gretchen!!! I pray it is full of all that delights your heart.

    I’m cracking up that you iron once a year, and of your description of those VBS characters. I wonder with what appliance *I* share a birthday? Going now to check…

  • Okay, I’m back. Sadly, no major appliances were invented on my birthday. Nothing to ease the pain and trouble of beleagered humanity.

    However, Krakatoa did explode on that date.

    Somehow…it’s so fitting…

  • Shayne

    Happy Birthday!! I was LOL at your comment on the laws of atmospheric thermodynamics. I iron only a tad more often than you, and that always puzzles me, too.

  • Happy Birthday! Your ironing habits are funny. I just bought a new ironing board last week.

  • Happy birthday! What? You don’t starch your husband’s shirts every morning?! Good gracious. I’m so disappointed.


  • Jenn

    Happy Birthday!!! I must take you out for lunch sometime. 🙂 (no ironing necessary – something simple, I promise!)

  • Mom-of-mopsy

    Now I know what I should have bought you for your B-day! I never had to master ironing on a table but I can tell you an ironing board definitely makes it easier. True my board and iron don’t come out too often thanks to dryers and wrinkle free fabrics. If my buzzer worked on my dryer it would even be better but as you know I got such a deal on my washer and dryer and found out when I got them home that the buzzer was on the washer but not on the dryer! Happy Birthday, dear. You have made your Dad and Mom so proud and it is with joy that I think back ** years ago and can’t imagine where time has gone.

  • Happy Birthday! Ironing and blogging are such a lovely way to commemorate it. Blessings!

  • You actually iron something once a year? Wow! I am of the generation that irons everything (it’s compulsive). I actually know how to starch and dampen — a lost art! The problem is — I avoid it for about a month and then have to iron for two days. Anyway, Happy birthday to you and the Seely Iron! I prefer the Rowenta myself — the steam wouldn’t last a whole year; it needs refilling about every third piece.

  • Happy birthday to you! I hope it was happy. I loved this. What an interesting angle to take on your birthday.

  • Happy birthday, happy memories of iron-on decals. I always had a shirt with a number 12 on it–my birthday number. I hope they treated you right!

  • Happy belated birthday to you!

  • Thanks. You’re making me feel like such a good homemaker. I think I iron twice as much as you do!!! (In a good year…)
    Just in case you ever misplace your towels and can’t use the table, DON’T try ironing on the back of a fabric covered computer chair. My husband tried it ONCE. It ruins the chair!
    Happy Birthday!

  • Belated happy birthday to you. I thoroughly enjoyed your clever post!

  • Happy belated birthday, and I hope the ironing wasn’t too strenuous.

    I am very excited to find a fellow Gemini who also hates to iron!

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