They’re Beauties … American Beauty Irons!
Facts About American Beauty Irons
The American Electrical Heater Company of Detroit, Michigan was originally established in 1894. They continued to manufacture household and commercial irons, as well as soldering irons, until going out of business in the early 1990s. This company manufactured a variety of electric irons over the years, for both household and commercial laundry use. However, their American Beauty line was an American favorite!
Amber & Ruby Lucite Handle Irons
Did you know that their translucent amber and ruby Lucite handle irons were so beautifully designed that they were once featured in an exhibit titled Masterpieces of American Design held at the Baltimore Museum of Art? Following is the information from the hangtag brochure for the 33-AB amber handle iron, manufactured in 1951:
American Beauty adjustable-automatic Electric Iron, Thermoscope Type, CAT. No. 33-AB
* Steel encased chrome-nickel heating element of 1000-watt input is cast in soleplate
* Soleplate is of aluminum-alloy with rounded edges
* Hood or cover is of steel, chrome plated
* Handle is of (amber) plastics
* Weight of iron is 3 pounds
* 7 foot, 10,000-cycle super-flexible heater cord with attachment-plug cap
* Iron is listed under Re-examination Service of Underwriter’s Laboratories, Inc.
Their translucent ruby Lucite handle iron was released a few years earlier in 1947. The description is similar except that the soleplate was of chrome-plated cast iron, making this iron heavier at 4.5 pounds. The other earlier electric irons in their production line were heavier as well, made of chrome plated cast iron and steel.
American Beauty Travel Iron
Another interesting American Beauty Iron was their travel iron, featuring a bright red Bakelite insert in the handle. Compact and lightweight, it easily slipped into luggage for pressing touch ups.
Early American Beauty Irons came with a companion trivet, which was a bi-level steel stand. Unfortunately, the bi-level design did not hold up well over time … they tend to be dented, rusty and it’s difficult to clean and restore them. So shop around you find a nice one to add to your growing American Beauty Iron collection
As You Buy …
Early to mid Twentieth Century American electric irons are becoming more scarce as time goes by. Smart collectors are picking up nice examples for their collections whenever the opportunity arises! Purchase an iron in near mint condition … with the original box and hang tag if possible. The original packaging makes your iron even more valuable. Add the companion trivet if one was made. And a word of warning … keep in mind that the inner insulation on the older woven cords was made of asbestos.
Lynn Rosack is a Worthologist who specializes in trivets and kitchenalia