Ironrite Mangle Iron Model 85: How Does a Mangle Iron Work?

Having the proper laundry tools may mean stepping back in time and suing old fashioned items like mangle irons. There is nothing wrong with doing that as the old fashioned tools were made of stronger materials and can do heavy-duty work with ease.

How does a mangle iron work? The mangle iron is a large mechanical device that uses two rollers, applied even pressure to make sure a lot of clothes were pressed in a very short amount of time. It was popular about 70 years ago but has fallen out of favor as the decades passed.

To learn about the mangle iron and how it works, just continue to read our article. We re-introduce this old fashioned piece of equipment that saved people a lot of time and effort. You may learn something new and be as intrigued as we are about this laundry device.

What is An Ironrite Mangle Iron Model 85?


This is a very old fashioned machine that was supposed to make a wife’s housework, mainly ironing, easier to do. The concept behind this machine is that there is a heavy metal plate that sits underneath the large roller.

The roller is held by 2 arms giving you a little movement in case you need to adjust for thinner fabrics. Once your clothes were dried, you would turn this device on, and then feed your unironed clothing items through the front bottom side.

After that, the roller would press the clothes removing all the wrinkles for you and your clothing items would come out pressed on the other side. All you had to do was pick up the item and place it on a hanger.

The key to speeding up your ironing work was to start with your simple items like placemats, table cloths and sheets and so on. One of the drawbacks to this device is that it was large and you needed a fairly wide-open workspace to use it.

How Much is A Mangle Iron Worth?


The actual worth of one of these machines belongs in the depends category. It depends on the seller and the method they use to sell the mangle iron. If you are lucky, you may find some out of the way spot that has one lying around and you can take it for free if you haul it away.

eBay has a wide range of prices, with the lowest price coming in at $25. The highest price that we have seen so far, is at around $300. There are a lot of mid-range prices between $100 and $200 and one person found one for sale at $180.

The only certain thing is that if you find one cheap, you are not making a discovery of a lifetime that has you financially free for the rest of your life. These are not diamonds hidden like a Van Gogh painting underneath another painting.

Their worth is what you can get for it and what the buyer is willing to pay.

How Does a Mangle Iron Work?


Keep in mind that this is not an ancient device that depended on manual labor waiting for the time of electricity to be invented. The first models were made in about 1928 and they used electricity from the start.

They come enclosed in their own little cabinet and to start the process you have to lift the lid, find the electric power cord and plug it in. After that, you need to push the start button to get the roller moving.

Just one side note on the cabinet. Some models seemed to have either a light metal construction while others had a wood cabinet that was fairly nice to look at. Once the roller began to turn, you fed the clothes through the bottom and reached around to get the pressed clothing item on the other side.

Of course, you had to be careful reaching for the pressed clothing as you would not want what you are wearing to be caught by the roller. The off button is in front so if that did happen, you could cut the power pretty quickly.

How to Use a Mangle Iron


There is not much to working a mangle iron. It was a stationary piece of laundry equipment that took up a lot of space. The cover opened up and sat on its hinges.

You could not remove it and place it out of the way. The cover was like a clothes catcher in case you moved a little too slow to get your pressed shirts, pants, etc. The hardest aspect of using this old machine was learning how to feed the clothes just right so they had their wrinkles removed without causing any more.

It does take a little practice to master using this laundry aid. It is possible to put a great crease in a pair of pants or iron a blouse with pleats and have it come out looking like new.

Overall the device is much easier to use than a flat iron and ironing board. In case you did not have space in your home, you could purchase the mangle iron without a case. This may have saved you a foot or two when trying to place it in the right spot for easy working.

Mangle Iron For Sheets


Sheets would be in the classification of simple clothing items or fabrics that you should start with first. There is nothing too hard about getting the wrinkles out of a sheet and their dimensions were flat, ordinary and easy to work with.

The design of the mangle iron made sheets, pillowcases, and similar objects the preferred items to send through the roller. They were that easy to work with and the machine gave you basically perfectly ironed sheets without you doing a lot of work.

A heating element did a lot of the work and it could be raised and lowered at will. You lowered it to feed the clothing item inside and raised it when you were ready to use the roller on it.

You were also in control of where the crease went and the heating element made sure the wrinkles were gone fast.

Ironrite Mangle Parts


Finding parts for your Ironrite mangle iron may be the most difficult aspect of owning one of these old fashioned ironing machines. With the advent of hand flat irons and wrinkle-free clothing, mangle irons were not in demand anymore and the company started to go through some financial problems.

Maytag did partner with the company that merged with the old Ironrite business to make their downsized version of this machine. But the manufacture of spare parts probably ended in 1959.

The best place to get spare parts these days is to look for old Ironrite mangle iron model 85 machines and take the working parts off and replace your non-working parts.

There was a place several years ago called Mr. Mangle but it has either gone out of business or changed its URL to another website. The old link did not lead anyone anywhere.

The other issue is that even if you found the right parts, you may not find someone who could fix it. There are few qualified mangle iron repairmen left today.

Ironrite Mangle Roller Cover


It is said that there are a lot of Ironrite mangle irons that can be found around the United States. That is a bit of good news because they are still making nice little covers for them today. They may not be metal or wood but some are made from cotton.

The cost at one location is $36 which seems to be a fairly high price to pay for something that doesn’t take a lot of effort to make. If you go to eBay expect the $36 to be the minimum price a cover will sell for.

The covers should not be that hard to replace and should slip over the roller in no time. Don’t expect too much help from Amazon on this issue. The search we made turned up zero responses.

The best thing you can do when looking for a new cover is to let your fingers do the walking and either contact different stores you find in the yellow pages or on the internet.

Mangle Band

This section is not talking about the Mangled band that formed somewhere around the late 80s and produced 2 albums in the early 90s. Nor is it about the movie called Mangleorn made in 2014 and starring Al Pacino and Helen Hunt.

When placed on a residential washing machine, the mangle was the two rollers at the top of the machine that squeezed the water out of freshly washed clothes. The rollers were placed on cogs and could be manually turned or turned by electricity.

The original European mangle band was simply a large rolling pin that had the damp clothing item wrapped around it. This rolling pin was placed on a flat board and the water was squeezed out of the fabric. The earliest model appeared in 1444.

The mangle band that was attached to the first washing machine took place in about 1843 and it was a hand-cranked model. Currently, mangles are not sold to the general public in America and if they are used they serve commercial purposes only.

Ironrite Mangle Troubleshooting


Fixing your old Ironrite mangle iron is not going to be that hard to do if you are mechanically inclined and good with working on older machines. The reason behind that statement is that you can still find operation and service manuals on eBay.

One cost for these manuals is roughly $24. Another price is about $31. The trick, of course, is to find the right manual for the model of Ironrite mangle iron you currently own.

It is not known if this website is still in business or not, but the owner at the time made a bunch of PDF copies of different operation manuals for Ironrite machines. We did check the home page and it seems to be operational still.

The company is on Facebook so there is a good chance you can get an operation and service manual from them and troubleshoot your Ironrite mangle iron model no. 85.

A Word About Ironrite Oil


The company did sell its own oil in its oil can with the Ironrite name on it. The good news is that it is not some special oil that was only produced during the 1930s to 60s. It is a product that was packaged by Gulf Oil company for Ironrite.

The SAE was only 50 and it was a very lightweight oil. The key is that you do need to use about 6 ounces of this oil to make sure all the parts are properly lubricated. Oils made for cars are a bit too heavy for these old machines.

Then 3 in 1 oil is also the right grade of oil that will work well in your Ironrite mangle iron. One final item you should know about. When you go to change the oil the paper you find around the gears, etc., is actually supposed to be there.

Its purpose is to protect the machine from any oil splashes that may occur.

Some Final Words

Old machines can be fascinating especially when they still have use today. If you can find one and get it to work again, then these old Ironrite mangle irons can make a nice contribution to your laundry time.

They are easy to use and it only takes a little practice to master the technique that produces the best results. Plus, they are a great conversation piece you and your friends can talk about when they visit.

There seem to be a lot of these machines still in existence so getting parts for them may not be that difficult at all. You never know until you try.

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