To celebrate Womxn's History Month we thought we’d bring you a series of blog posts acknowledging the ways in which womxn have changed modern life through invention - many of which we now simply take for granted...
What? The ironing board
Who? Sarah Boone
Back in the day (by which we mean ‘before 1892’) women did the ironing on their dining table or by putting a literal wooden board between two chairs. Enter Sarah Boone - an African American and former slave who was responsible for one of the most revolutionary domestic inventions of the century.
Boone worked as a dressmaker in New Haven, Connecticut, and consequently handled lots of clothes and did a lot of ironing. She set out to design a special device that would let her iron any garment - even a fancy 1890s gown - quickly and easily.
Her new and improved ironing board was a masterpiece of practicality. It had hinged legs so that it could be folded up and stored, the top was padded, and one end of the board was narrow enough to fit inside a sleeve and curved to make every part of a garment easy to iron.
She absolutely nailed it. Not only did the state of Connecticut grant her a U.S. government patent, but her design has stood the test of time - modern ironing boards are pretty much unchanged. You can’t improve on perfection.