ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Who Invented the Ironing Board - History of Ironing

Updated on April 14, 2009

The Ironing Board, Where Would We Be Without It?

Most people today take ironing boards for granted as an essential piece of household equipment. But next time you are pressing a shirt, it's worth remembering that the ironing board is a relatively new invention. In fact, it wasn't until the early 20th century that ironing boards began to appear in stores in the United States and, later, in Europe.For centuries, people used to press their clothes on any flat surface, with the kitchen table being one of the most popular places, or even a piece of wood laid between two chairs. The Vikings, back in the late 800s, came up with an innovative way to press their clothes. They used heated rocks as an ‘iron' and laid their clothes on a large, flat piece of whalebone. Some people regard this as the forerunner of the modern ironing board.

But it was many centuries later, in 1858, before the first ironing board was patented by W. Vandenburg in the United States. This inspired several others to also patent variations of Vandenburg's ironing board, with the best-known being a black American woman, Sarah Boone in 1892, who is often cited as the inventor of the modern ironing board.

Sarah Boone's ironing board was similar in shape to the ironing boards of today, being long and narrow with a curved point at one end, to make it easier to iron shirt sleeves. By 1940, manufacturers were producing all-metal collapsible ironing boards with tubular legs, and the basic design of ironing boards has changed little since then, although they have become lighter in weight.

A typical modern ironing board has a flat metal surface, covered by a foam fad and often topped by a decorative cover made of heat-resistant fabric. The pad usually contains small vent holes, to allow the steam to penetrate clothes and then escape.

At one end of the board, there is normally a heatproof area where a hot iron can be rested. A well-designed iron-rest is large enough to hold the iron safely, without risk of it falling off.

Modern ironing boards also have extra features, to make ironing easier. These include ‘sleeves', which are about 2 feet long and 6 to 8 inches wide, attached to the board, for ironing sleeves and small items of clothing.

Types of modern ironing board

There are three main types of ironing board - portable, table-top and wall-mounted.

Portable ironing board
Portable ironing board

Portable Ironing Boards

The most common type in American homes is the portable ironing board. They have extendable legs that fold out for use, and fold away for storage, and can be moved to where ever in the house ironing is done.

The height of the board can be adjusted, to suit the size of the person doing the ironing, and some people prefer to lower the board and sit down, rather than stand.

One of the disadvantages of portable ironing boards is that they are cumbersome to carry and the extendable tubular legs can be awkward to set up, particularly for older people.

Table-top ironing board
Table-top ironing board

Table Top Ironing Boards

The second type of ironing board - the table-top board - has short legs and, as it name suggests, is designed to sit on a table top or counter. These compact ironing boards are easy to carry around and set up in a confined space, which makes them popular in student dorms. But they are too small to allow large items of clothing to be placed properly on the board, which is a drawback when ironing sleeves or anything that needs to fit around the end of the ironing board.

Wall mounted ironing board
Wall mounted ironing board

Wall Mounted Ironing Boards

The third type of ironing board is mounted on the wall. It can be folded out when required for ironing, and then folded away when not in use. These wall-mounted ironing boards are particularly popular in smaller houses or apartments, where space is limited, as they can be stored away virtually flat against the wall. Wall-mounted ironing boards can be installed in confined areas, even in walk-in closets.

Even in larger houses, many people prefer wall-mounted ironing boards, as they are convenient and save time. They take only a few seconds to pull out or put away, eliminating the need to carry the ironing board and unfold awkward collapsible legs. Wall-mounted ironing boards can be swiveled out at any angle into the most convenient position for ironing, and are strong and sturdy when in use.

See how a Wall Mounted Ironing Board works

Are you a Fan, Have your say here!

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Estoy totalmente de acuerdo contigo, creo que te estas dando con una pared, no insistas e invierte donde creas, este foro no es de consulta, se mueve por intereses de unos pocos que hablan del interés personal de lo que debe de hacer un valía y no un estudio de cada valor.

    • profile image

      glayza Mac 

      9 years ago

      nice job!

    • Lissie profile image

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      11 years ago from New Zealand

      Have you heard about extreme ironing - it might make a good follow up hub! I was using the table top method in our new town - but decided that for $16 I might as just buy 1 and throw it away when I leave Oz Greetings from a fellow Kiwi

    • netbuilder profile image


      11 years ago

      I have to admit I have a block where ironing boards are concerned, and love perma press, but the title just got to me.

      Interesting, and just another of those things we often take for granted. They do come in handy now and then when I am really pressed (little joke there). Good Hub

    • Jason Stanley profile image

      Jason Stanley 

      11 years ago

      Okay, I gotta admit it, I really don't think much about ironing boards - but that one on the video is pretty cool.


    • KeithB profile image


      11 years ago from Denver, CO

      A very unique hub. I certainly know more about the history and types of ironing boards now than I did before. Not that I knew that much before. Thumbs up.

    • yojpotter profile image


      11 years ago from Iloilo City

      This is interesting..I haven't really thought of the history of ironing boards before..also thanks for the tips..really helpful..^^

    • NatChar profile image


      11 years ago

      Great tips on ironing boards. Thumbs up for ironing boards!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)