Many Victorian households would complete “ironing” of sheets and table-linen with a mangle, using hot irons just for clothing. Items at this time could be sent to a mangle-woman, working from home, often a widow earning pennies with a mangle bought by well-wishers after her husband’s death.
These early mangles were made of wood and later in the late 19th early 20th century US commercial laundries and homes described the mangling process or pressing of large items as “flatwork”– to distinguish it from the detailed ironing given to shaped clothing.
A mangle is a mechanical laundry aid consisting of two rollers in a sturdy frame, connected by cogs and, in its home version, powered by a hand crank or electrically.
While the appliance was originally used to wring water from wet laundry, today mangles are used to press or flatten sheets, tablecloths, kitchen towels or clothing. oldandinteresting.com
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