Kevin Talks Irons


 Most Recent Video: #48 Ober Sad Irons An overview of the Ober family of sad irons.

PITCA members Kevin and Kate McCartney live in Caribou, Maine. Together, they are producing a series of videos about iron collecting that can be found at Kevin Talks Irons on YouTube.

If you'd like to be the first to know when Kevin & Kate release a new video, make sure you Subscribe to their channel and don’t forget to give a Thumbs Up 👍 to each video! 

Video Index, sorted by topic

  1. Collecting & Buying: #1, 14, 20, 29, 38
  2. Researching and Patents: #21, 24, 26
  3. Foundries and Inventors: #25, 27, 36, 37, 40, 48
  4. Advertising & Trade Cards: #28, 43
  5. Flat Irons & Detachable Handle Irons: #2, 3, 9, 27, 48
  6. Slug Irons: #4, 45
  7. Coal & Liquid Fuel Irons #5, 6, 7, 8 
  8. Special Purpose Irons: #10, 11, 12, 19, 22
  9. Fluters: #15, 16, 17, 18
  10. Small & Toy Irons: #42, 43, 44
  11. Standing Irons (mostly Goffering): #30, 31
  12. Travel & Electric Irons: #34, 35, 39
  13. Devices to Heat Irons: #23, 32, 33
  14. Mangles & Other Wooden Devices: #41
  15. Sad Iron Stands, aka Trivets: #13

The Videos


#1 The Premiere This video is an introduction to the fascinating world of antique pressing irons. It is of especial interest to antique dealers, those interested in the evolution of technology (particularly in the 19th century), scholars of historical fashion, as well as providing a glimpse into a world of days gone past.

#2 The Humble Flat Iron This video is the second in a series about collecting antique pressing irons. It is designed to educate and inform the generally curious, the antique/collectible shop owners, dealers and pickers, and anyone interested in the history of the evolution of this ubiquitous household item.

#3 Detachable Handled Irons Kevin explores the rise of the detachable-handled flat irons as the logical next step forward from the humble flat iron.

#4 Slug Irons Come and join Kevin as he describes the world of European and American "slug" irons - irons heated with removable "slugs" that are heated and inserted.

#5 Coal Irons In this next installment of the "Kevin Talks Irons" series, Kevin talks about coal/charcoal irons. It starts with a late 1700s iron from France, a typical European iron from the late 1800s, and goes on to a variety of American coal irons from the late 1800s to early 1900s.

#6 Gas Irons The iron adventure continues, this time focusing on natural gas irons. Enjoy the blooper reel at the end.

#7 Gas Jet Irons Here is a brief overview of an often overlooked category, the gas-jet irons.

#8 Liquid Fuel Irons In this video, Kevin presents liquid fuel irons from 1889 to the 1960s Coleman.

#9 Tailor Irons Kevin talks about goose irons, and sings Pop Goes the Weasel.

#10 Polishing Irons Here is a short overview of the types of polishing irons and their origins.

#11 Sleeve & Seam Irons This video is about the long and narrow irons: the sleeve and seam irons.

#12 Hat Irons Come and explore the world of the various irons used in the making and maintenance of hats.

#13 Sad Iron Stands (Trivets) Kevin has a substantial collection of flat iron shaped and double pointed sad iron stands and shares a general overview of the subject in this video.

#14 Collecting Old Irons Kevin goes into his basic philosophy about collecting irons, with a summary of the various subjects that irons collectors also may collect. The limits and focus of his own collection are then presented.

#15 Hand Fluters Kevin gives an overview of the remarkable cast iron hand fluters, an exclusively American category of pressing irons.

#16 Machine Fluters Kevin talks about Victorian fluting machines that produced crimped fabrics for the fancy clothing of that era.

#17 Let's Go Fluting Kevin demonstrates how fluting irons were used, firing up three different kinds and trying them all.

#18 Combination Fluters The fourth installment in the fluting series, this video goes into detail about the history of the combination fluters, a uniquely American gadgety group. It is a little longer than the other videos, as there is a lot to say about them.

#19 Rotary (Rotating) Irons Sit down for a few minutes with Kevin to get an overview of the world of rotary irons.

#20 Buying Old Irons Kevin describes his techniques and strategies for buying irons for his collection, with advice for novices and experts alike.

#21 Researching Old Irons Kevin gives an overview of the essential books and magazines that every iron collector's library should have.

#22 Millinery (Ball, Egg & Flower) Irons The various iron devices used to make fashionable ladies' hats are explored.

#23 Wood Stove Heaters for Old Irons Kevin gives an introduction to the world of devices used to heat irons on cook stoves.

#24 Patents for Old Irons This video is a basic introduction to the role patents played in the development of old irons.

#25 Foundries that Manufactured Old Irons This video provides an outline of the major foundry businesses that manufactured a variety of sad irons.

#26 Finding & Reading Old Iron Patents Kevin talks about how to search for, and read, patents for old irons. He shows the history of several interesting iron designs, as determined from the patents.

#27 Mrs. Florence Potts Here is a short biography and overview of Mrs. Florence Potts and her famous cold-handled sad iron design.

#28 Mrs. Potts Trade Cards This video gives an introductory overview of the history and variety of trade cards issued by the Enterprise Manufacturing Company, many featuring the Mrs.Potts Cold Handled Sad Iron.

#29 To The Auction! Kevin walks you step by step through buying irons from a specialty auction.

#30 Standing Irons (mostly Goffers) Kevin dives into the different categories of standing irons, sharing values, stories, and contextual history to illustrate this group of distinctive irons.

#31 Elite Goffers Join Kevin for an overview of some of the fanciest goffering irons that have come to auction in 2019 and 2020.

#32 Kerosene Stoves and the Sad Iron Heaters that love them Enjoy a short tutorial on the history and variety of kerosene stoves.

#33 Natural Gas Sad Iron Heaters A short and sweet introduction to the natural gas iron heaters often used commercially by tailors and launderers, as well as in domestic settings. 

#34 Travel Irons Enjoy this introductory primer about the development of the travel iron. 

#35 Electric Travel Irons Electric travel irons are an eclectic group of irons, not widely collected, but still noteworthy.

#36 The Old Irons of Nelson R. Streeter Come and meet Nelson R. Streeter, the inventor and marketer of the Sensible and Magic iron types, which are favorites of many collectors.

#37 Susan R. Knox Susan R. Knox was a notable late 19th-century American inventor and entrepreneur who created the American style of machine fluters.

#38 Top 10 Old Irons for the Beginning Collector This video presents Kevin's thoughts on the first ten irons the beginning collector might search for.

#39 Electric Old Irons Kevin talks about the history of electric pressing irons, from the earliest to modern day.

#40 Asbestos - Dover and Related Old Irons Here is a short tutorial explaining the history of the Asbestos-Dover brand sad irons.

#41 Mangles and other Wooden Devices for Pressing Fabric Kevin talks about the mangle boards and other devices used to press fabric during the 1500 to 1800s, using items from his personal collection & photos of specimens from major auctions. 

#42 American Small and Toy Old Irons This is the first of three videos exploring the world of small and miniature antique irons. Learn the difference between a small iron, a toy, and a salesman's sample.

#43 Old Sad Irons as Advertising Come along with Kevin to learn about how sad irons were used to promote various businesses and goods, such as laundries, pharmaceuticals, and chewing tobacco!

#44 Old European Small Irons This video is a companion to the American small irons, this time exploring the world of European smalls.

#45 Elite European Slug Irons This video was filmed at the first William "Buck" Carson auction in July 2021. Kevin gives a brief overview of the very finest European slug irons on auction.

#46 Live At The Auction Come along with Kevin to the first Buck Carson collection auction in Pittsburgh, PA. Have a front row seat on the action at the auction and then get the full run-down of Kevin's auction strategy and analysis of his winnings.

#47 PITCA Meeting 2021 Come along with Kevin as he attends the 2021 Pressing Iron and Trivet Collectors of America annual meeting in Pittsburgh, PA, and meet some other iron enthusiasts.

#48 Ober Sad Irons An overview of the Ober family of sad irons.