May 26, 2012: The Mangler

            When I was really small, my mother had an ironing machine. You put a pair of trousers into it, and it pressed them with steam and heat and pressure.

She called it The Mangler; I’m not sure why. Maybe it didn’t do a very good job of ironing, or maybe she was referring to the possibility that, if one wasn’t careful, the machine could suck you in and iron you. That sounds like something Mom might have warned against.

I did not buy this machine the other day.

The Mangler was fun to play inside of. When you lifted the machine’s giant lid, there was a big space underneath the ironing pulleys that, if you were three years old, you could tuck yourself into and pretend an evil witch had imprisoned you there, pending your being turned into a gingerbread boy and eaten.

What does it say about me that, when I walked into a junk shop the other day and saw a Mangler—first time I’d laid eyes on one in nearly 50 years—my immediate thought was, “I have to have that!”?

Thing I Hate Today: Babies in movie theaters


7 Responses

  1. Yep, looks like the one Mom had in her home…and I used to iron sheets and tablecloths on it. Memories of chores done as a kid.

  2. Naturally, you got inside a huge machine called a Mangler that your mom warned you about. I would’ve too. And I also hate it when people bring babies into theaters. Or restaurants. Or pretty much anywhere.

  3. I like to see babies. And I like parents who are smart enough to sit near the door and take them for a little walk outside if they get fussy in a public place.

  4. Remember the Stephen King short story about the Mangler? Same machine, bad behaviour.

  5. When I was nine, I lived in a hotel in Minneapolis with my grandparents. I was a rough-and-tumble AZ girl and became a sort of Cowboy Eloise. The staff let me use the mangle in the basement with all the GIANT laundry equipment. I got to “mangle” sheets.

  6. I had this very thing in my kitchen for years. Taffy’s popcorn lived in the little space. It was called a Mangler, Mombi said, because if one got an arm caught in it, which in the old days I guess happened a lot, well…

  7. I knew two different Mormon men, young fathers, who had extra jobs selling these devices in the 60’s, one in Mesa and one in San Jose. I think Mangle is the company name…but derived from some German term. You can buy beautiful new ones…very pricey!

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