Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario

See What I mean?

GH Iron Dec 1916

See what I mean?

Indulge me please, in a wee rant. Look at this advertisement from December 1916.

Just look at it!

There are so many things wrong with this, I don’t know where to begin.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Which is good, because I’m speechless.

OK, not speechless any more:

That contraption? It’s an IRON!?

What the hell were they thinking when they built that bad boy?

Here’s what:

This, Dear, Is the Gift I Knew Would Please You Most


YOUR husband would choose this Gift, too, if he but knew how much it meant to you, to your health, your youthfulness, your comfort. A little hint, such as you use when you really set your heart on having something, will let “him” know that a “Simplex” would prove the most acceptable Gift this year.


“him” Why the quotes?  I don’t get it. Is the guy in the picture not her husband, but her “him”? Either way, I have lost all respect for “her”.

30 Days’ Free Trial–Small Payment Down

I’ll just bet they wanted a small payment down.  Grab the money and run fellas!

Just what every Housewife needs and wants, because it banishes the ironing drudgery forever; eliminates the headaches, backaches. And keeps her supplied with an abundance of fresh, beautifully-ironed linen all the time without labor.

LIES! “Without labor”, my Aunt Fanny!

Two cents for heat, using gas or gasoline, and even less when a motor is used to turn it, is the total expense of an average ironing. In one hour the “Simplex” finishes an ironing which requires four to five hours by hand; gives a better finish and is easy and safe to use.

But wait! There’s more! It’s gas operated! Guess she’ll be ironing out doors!  Or not, if she elects to turn the thing by hand.  Oh, that’s right. My mistake: it’s “without labor.”  I’m going to ignore the fact that without this unit it takes her four to five hours to complete the ironing. Otherwise my head will explode.

Write today for our handsomely illustrated book on ironing. The “Simplex” is sold by all dealers handling the better Grade of family washing machines. The Gift that Gladdens 52 Times a Year.

Gotta give ’em props for precision: “The Gift that Gladdens 52 times a Year. Not 51, not 53, but exactly 52.

I’m off to Google “the better grade of family washing machines.  If you don’t hear from me, just grab a mop and clean up the puddle that will be what remains of my, um, remains.

If you liked this bit of surrealism, (and that’s what I’m calling it because it kills me to think that this is a bona fide ad) you might like to read about my early introduction to the sublime task of ironing.  

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15 replies

  1. OK but back in the day gas was used to light the insides of houses. My aunt had a collection of old irons and one of them was “gas powered” — hooked into the domestic gas line much as we connect electricity. My favorite ironing device is called a “mangle.”


  2. Aha! Thanks! I am very familiar with the mangle as it applies to a wringer washer. I was the “catcher” on the discharge side while mom fed the laundry through from the washer side. My job was to make sure it hit the rinse water. I was terrified of that thing. Good thing I didn’t know it was called a “mangle” or I’d have had nightmares! Good question about gasoline/kerosene. Always more questions, which is a good thing, yes?


  3. This was a giggle a line. (that’s better than a laugh a minute.) I love the topic. And I see you’re still quite taken with Iron, too. How iron-ic.


    • Heya! Yes, it seems to the be topic with no end. On other websites we (the Royal “My husband and I” we) are debating terrestrial iron vs meteorite iron. The pampered life we lead! Glad you got a giggle! And every line, too! Score!


  4. I would really like to sit down and have a coffee with you, Maggie! I’d like to know your voice so I could really imagine you speaking as I read your posts. Please keep up the good work…and I’m not referring to ironing.


    • Why, thank you! For the comments, compliments, and the invitation! I know what you mean about wanting to “hear” the “real” voice. Maybe some day, technology will allow, ya think? And trust me, writing trumps housework any day!


  5. I’m mortified that this was in Good Housekeeping… one of my favorite magazines today. I’m all afluster (apparently that’s not really a word, sorry) that she’s wasting hints on this contraption and not JEWELS, which would carry a much greater re-sale value in the event that the relationship doesn’t work out, which clearly it won’t, because if I had to iron for 4-5 hours EVERY F-ING WEEK, I would commit mayhem and it would be bloody… very, very bloody. I might even use that contraption to commit it. Duh :>


    • Afluster is not a word? It should be! Loved your take on the scenario! GH misfired on this baby, that’s for sure!
      I can’t help wonder if the ad art was an early “cut and paste” job? The Simplex people found a picture of a couple on Christmas day – she all a-fluster over the pile of goodies he gave her. He, you can see the glint in his eye, imagining the action in the boudoir later on. Then back in the advertising art studio, a picture of the machine was superimposed. Because, really, no matter how good the actors might be, I can’t imagine that the models hired to pose for this ad could EVER pull it off.


  6. Imagine trying to organise a shirt through that thing. And the result, if you misfired…
    I put my arm through a wringer once – ie an electric mangle. Not pretty.


    • Thanks for your comment, and sorry to hear about your arm. Eek! Exactly what I thought, too Helen, about shirts or other clothing. I think this machine was meant only for bed linens and other flat household goods. What a concept – you need to devote an entire room just to house this thing and it doesn’t even do the whole job!



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