pressing iron

1) Either a smoothing-iron, used by tailors or dressmakers; or a kind of vice used by Sheffield cutlers.

The usual meaning offered for ‘pressing-iron’ is that it was a sort of smoothing-iron, used by tailors or dressmakers: 1485 Item ij pare of scherys with ij presyng yrnes xiiijd, York

1660 one pressing iron and one paire of sheres & a bodkinge, 8d, Selby. However, that seems an unlikely explanation for the implements used by Sheffield’s cutlers, which are referred to in ‘pairs’ and were probably vices. In 1689, Francis Brownell had 1 paire of pressingirons and in 1696 Joshua Barnsley had in his smithy 2 pressing Vices 3 other Vices Ł5, 22 pair of presses 2. 4. 0. In 1717, George Cartwright had 2 p[ai]r of pressors in his Tiphouse and 4 vices 1 of ‘em a pressing vice in his Work Chamber. They were evidently vice-like contrivances designed to hold an object and exert pressure on it, perhaps used in the hafting process.

dates 1485 1660 1717

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