Coal-heated cast iron flat iron used in a mental health hospital in Victoria, Australia, circa 1850.

Physical Description

Black, cast-iron iron has a shield-shape base, straight sides 6cm high and a flat top. It has a tubular wooden handle with brackets that curve inward in a semi-circle at the bottom. The back wall of the iron slides upward, operated by a thin shaft, threaded through a loop at the back of the handle then bent over, with a small round handle on the end. The hollow centre of the iron was filled with hot coals.

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