Monday, February 15, 2021

The Electric Iron in Lawrence County

 The Courthouse Annex which holds the offices of the County Treasurer and Supervisor of Assessments is located at 1106 Jefferson Street in Lawrenceville, on the south side of the square. On June 23, 1995,  the building was purchased from CIPS  by the County and extensively remodeled. Prior to that the building housed Central Illinois Public Service.

Central Illinois Public Service began service in Lawrence County in 1912, but not in that location. Before that the utility company was known as the Lawrenceville Light & Water Co.    In the early days, electricity was available only in the evening hours because it was used exclusively for lighting.  This applied to street lighting as well as in homes and businesses.

 Utility companies, began promoting the electric iron shortly after it was invented and many housewives eagerly embraced this labor-saving device. As a result, electricity was first made available during the daylight hours on Tuesday because this was the traditional ironing day.

This last line was written in the Sesqui-Corner published in the Daily Record February, 1971, but  the researchers can not substantiate that.  It makes an interesting story, though.   The first local electric iron ad found was in the Lawrenceville Republican August 3, 1911. The ad stated that there were two hundred such irons in use in Lawrenceville and all users seemed satisfied.

However, on June 3, 1914, according to the Lawrence County News, “an electric iron came very near causing a disastrous conflagration at the home of J. Bowers. Some of the children had attached the iron and laid it on a bed.  Sometime afterwards, Mr. Bowers came home, smelled smoke and upon investigation found the iron had burned a hole through the bed covers, feather bed, and mattress.” Mrs. Bowers was probably not among the 200 satisfied users.  Note that this occurred on a Monday.  

Then on May 23, 1916, a Tuesday I might add, a short circuit in an electric iron was responsible for an incipient blaze in Ben Yosowitz’s pressing rooms. So there you have it. 

Lawrenceville Republican August 3, 1911

Lawrenceville Republican September 28,1911