I have been keeping my eyes open for a vintage ironing board, as I have seen so many great ones in blogland. And I found one! At my favorite little thrift store, for only $8.00. I suppose it was cheap because it has been altered, but I love it for that very reason. Somebody has cut it down, it is much shorter than normal. A base has been added, so it is very stable.
I wonder who cut it, and why? Was it for a wife, who was no longer able to stand, and did her ironing from a chair? Perhaps for a young girl, left motherless, and required to take over the chores? I do not believe it was intended to be a toy, if it had been for a toy, I think the dad, or whoever, would have built a miniature. This is full-size, modified, surely a piece for work, not play. The changes make it impossible to fold, so it would have had to be set up all the time. It probably had a spot in the kitchen, where the person ironing could also tend to the cooking. There is an area on the end where the color is different, either from the heat of the iron, or from moisture in dampened clothes stacked there, waiting to be ironed.
I wonder if the disabled woman, headstrong and determined to carry on, in spite of her problems, had a husband who lovingly did what he could to make it possible. Perhaps, she was able-bodied, and he simply wanted to make it so she could sit whilst she ironed. I hope so. I do hope it was not for a child, too young to stand at a full-height ironing board, but who had to do the chores, anyway! I think we forget what hardships people faced in earlier times. The clothes ironed on this board would have had to be washed in a wringer washer, or on a scrub board, probably with water heated on a stove or even an open fire in the yard. Clothes hung up to dry, then brought in and ironed. I hope that did not fall to a young child.
In any case, the ironing board now has a place of honor in my home, as a sofa table. I will not change it in any way, it is what it is. A symbol of hard work, from a bygone era. I love it. But, oh, how I wish it could talk!!