Early Ironing Boards

Since specialized ironing boards evolved gradually from more conventional boards, tables and other assorted flat surfaces, it's impossible to associate a single person or a single time with the invention of the ironing board. Nevertheless, there are many efforts to attribute its invention to a former slave named Sarah Boone in 1892. Below, you can compare Boone's board with a more recognizably modern one that was patented two decades earlier.

This adjustable-height, collapsible model, patented in 1871, was one of the many ironing boards patented before Boone's. Sarah Boone's ironing board, patented 1892. It was intended for sleeves, mostly.

The first U.S. patent designated as an "ironing table" was granted in 1858, although other unpatented forms already existed. By the early 1870s the United States was granting patents for ironing boards at a rate of about one per month. By the time Sarah Boone received her patent in 1892, the American men and women with patents on ironing boards numbered in the hundreds.

U.S. Patents for ironing boards/tables/stands, 1858-1873
PatentInventorInvention nameYear
19,390W Vandenburg, J HarveyIroning table1858
19,883W VandenburgIroning table1858
20,231W VandenburgIroning table1858
24,929JF GalleyIroning table1859
26,728GF ZimmannIroning table1860
35,735J JohnsonIroning table1862
37,804JP and ML BeverIroning stand1863
57,170SA MortIroning board1866
61,569MD SaffordIroning table1867
64,170B Van GassbeekIroning table1867
64,480JN BrewsterIroning board and closet1867
70,146AT WoolseyIroning table1867
70,958AA ChittendenIroning table1867
72,228WW HullSkirt ironing table1867
75,120BS BoydstonIroning stand and clothes-drier1868
76,098H ParkIroning table1868
76,701GI BirchIroning board1868
78,642MG BriggsFolding or ironing table1868
83,310JT PiercyIroning table1868
83,379L HarringtonIroning table1868
83,460PP CarrollIroning table1868
84,549OC HotchkissIroning table1868
88,281HT De MontignyIroning table1869
89,162JC MillerIroning board1869
89,943TM RichardsIroning table1869
90,966H SoggsIroning table1869
91,033A WatsonIroning board1869
91,921JL DevolIroning table and clothes-drier1869
92,207WP PattenIroning table1869
94,572DE CrosbyIroning board1869
96,384CH Bennett, WH DaggettIroning board1869
97,851WP AdamsIroning table and clothes drier1869
99,219S MerrittIroning table1870
104,385M WhiteIroning table and bureau1870
106,509JH RuffIroning table1870
107,271JF Martin, WA SchaffnerIroning table1870
107,469J FischerIroning board1870
107,940H McchesneyIroning table1870
109,712JH BeidlerIroning board1870
109,918JH MalloryIroning table1870
110,410M WhiteIroning table bureau1870
110,577JJ MärkiIroning table1870
110,769DW MarshallIroning table1871
114,515AG BeekIroning board1871
116,277JW DavisIroning and stretching board1871
117,737FA ByramIroning table1871
118,643T ReedIroning table1871
118,878P O'ThayneIroning table1871
118,990JN ValleyIroning and kitchen table combined1871
119,703CC HardyIroning table1871
120,030BD Brown, D MoyerIroning board1871
120,101T ReedIroning table1871
120,296JH MalloryIroning table1871
122,554P BostromIroning table1872
124,275GM LaneIroning board1872
126,016JR CarzierIroning table1872
127,792JT Plowman, SrIroning table1872
128,569LS VallettIroning board1872
128,709JM ChildersIroning board1872
129,042F LillerIroning table1872
130,749AS Robinson, RA HarrisIroning table and skirt board, combined1872
131,876H HamillIroning board1872
133,122B SchoonmakerIroning table1872
133,304JM CouthamalIroning table1872
135,303A WechslerIroning table1873
136,056JR GrovesIroning table1873
136,390HE SmithIroning table, lap board,
and step ladder, combined
137,602W EdwardsIroning table, folding1873
138,331RN HerringIroning board1873
140,356J Frankenfield, WE KichlineIroning table1873
140,758E BassettIroning board1873
141,639JH FrankIroning table1873
142,645AJ PalmbergIroning table1873
143,071WB Grosh, SH ForemanIroning table1873
143,977J GoodKitchen and ironing table, combined1873
144,418WH SparksIroning table1873
144,869L ScofieldIroning table1873
145,162ES FarsonIroning table1873
145,614C Blom, JrIroning table1873

The list keeps going. Needless to say, there are a lot more boards to go before we get to Sarah Boone's patent number 473,653.