Behold, the Power of Permanent Press

My dad wore two shirts a day. White, starched, cotton and linen blend shirts. My dad, at best rumpled-looking, felt it was essential to maintaining a professional appearance.

When I was very small my mother spent a lot of her time ironing my dad’s shirts (I don’t ever recall our household help doing any ironing). Later when we had a bit more money, my mom sent my dad’s shirt to the laundry. But that still meant trips to the laundry several times a week if not on a daily basis. On net it probably reduced my mom’s workload but just as importantly it changed the nature of the workload.

When permanent press became widely available and affordable in the mid-1950s, it changed her life.

4 comments… add one

  • TastyBits

    When I was in the Marine Corps, I would always go into the field with my utilities (cammies) pressed. Everybody thought I was crazy, but since I was shit-hot with my weapons system, they knew I was not a suck-ass.

    I am not sure when the last time my wife has pressed anything. I stopped going to the cleaners. They always added creases, and they never get the box pleat correct.

    I do not use starch anymore, but when I did, I mixed my own.

  • CStanlet

    My maternal grandmother was a presser in the garment district of NYC. When I was a girl she would iron the dresses for my sisters and me- often elaborately pleated garments for the holidays. I never did get the hang of it, and today I shun ironing. If it doesn’t come out of the dryer in wearable form, it goes to the cleaners. And if it accidentally gets left too long in the dryer and develops some wrinkles, it gets spritzed and thrown back in to “touch it up.”

  • My mother-in-law is an artist with a gizmo called a “mangle”, described here She can press practically anything with one.

    My mom was never so skilled but she taught me to iron. I don’t do it often but I know how.

  • Andy

    I iron my wife’s uniform shirts on Mondays. Other than that it’s pretty rare.

    Are washing machine are a lot better on clothes too. I still remember my grandmothers old washer with a power wringer – you could roll steel with that thing.

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