The modern electric iron is eons safer than not only early electric irons, but the pre-electric ironing tools on which today’s products are based. The evolution of the iron was well under way before electricity came about. For the most part, each step forward made irons easier to use, but they did not necessarily make them safer until the latter half of the twentieth century, when electric irons were advanced and perfected. In fact, the early electric irons may have even been more dangerous than their furnace- and hot coal-heated predecessors, largely because people did not yet have a good handle on how to safely use electricity, especially for heating mechanisms.
Fortunately, the story today is quite different. The modern electric irons you will find on any department store shelf or in an online catalogue doubtless comes with plenty of safety features. Certainly, the more basic a model, the more basic its safety features. Not every iron has each consideration listed below, but here are some of the top safety features found on modern electric irons”
- Auto-off. The auto-off feature will usually kick in (by turning the iron off) for one of two reasons. Either the iron has been left on for a certain length of time (deemed ‘too long for normal use,’ and thus potentially forgotten), or it has been left face down for too long (which is likely to cause something to burn). If it shuts off in error, you can easily turn it back on again immediately without losing heat.
- Non-stick plate. The metal plate that directly touches the clothes use to stick to certain materials if moved too slowly or if the materials were too damp or too dry, causing burns and potential fires. Today’s plates are almost all non-stick by design, minimizing this risk.
- Insulated, retractable cord. The cord of the iron could be a problem if it were easily melted or burned, so modern cords are well insulated to reduce that risk. Many models also have retractable cords, which is certainly convenient, but also reduces the chance of yourself (or a child or pet) tripping on or getting tangled in the cord.