This next "one of a kind" offering was certainly a lucky find and I am just so excited to present this to you! This fabulous mangle board was found in Pennsylvania though I think it has deeper roots that originate from Sweden. One of the early settlers may have brought this with them when they came to this country long ago as it is a utilitarian piece that served a purpose.
The folklore and history regarding Mangle Boards is very interesting. Some Mangle boards were traditional courtship gifts carved with initials and dates by the young men of Scandinavia or the Netherlands for their sweethearts. The suitor would hang the board, once completed on the front door of the home where his true love could be found. If she accepted this gift it would be carried into the home and marriage would soon follow.
There are two ingredients that make up this useful wooden tool used for ironing out linen. A long rod that closely mimics an elongated rolling pin was tightly wrapped with sprinkled linen which was placed on a flat table. The companion mangling ~ board, a narrow flat piece of wood was then rolled vigorously back and forth on the fabric with as much force as possible, over this roller until the fabric was smoothed as shown in image 18. The carved, bumpy surface of the board helped to soften the cloth. Mangles were also used as washboards for scrubbing smaller garments and served as feather bed smoothers too.
This mangle was fashioned out of one piece of wood and probably dates to the early part of the 19th century. This piece was heavily used as the handle is smooth to the touch and associated age cracks are present near the bottom of the handle. Two are more defined than the others. There are twenty carved and raised rectangles on the underside that were used for agitation. As shown in image 7 there is a small crack at the top edge that covers three raised wooden areas. Tiny chips are also present in these areas as well. On the opposite side there is a small piece of wood missing that extends about an inch and is about 1/8" tall. Another little chip can be seen on the front where the carving is located but near the bottom edge. The rest of the board is great!
As reference above, this board sports carved, stylized initials along with numbers that read, "F P" on the left and "H 923" on the right. There is also a crudely carved upside down "K" directly above the number 3 and an "E" that follows the 3. Judy and I were contemplating the three numbers carved on the front and even if the number "1" was in place before the 9, we highly doubt that this piece was carved in 1923 as most of these mangles were not used in America after 1920. We thought that maybe the "9" stood for the month September and the "23" could have been the day of the year?
There is an area as shown in image 14 & 15 that has some green residue in the wood that looks like whispers from a marker, i.e. felt pen. Some teeny tiny holes are sprinkled randomly throughout and add up to about 7.
Part of the rings from the tree used to fashion this interesting piece can be seen on the very bottom that mimics a half moon shape. Neat! This board is very heavy and would certainly make a good "attitude adjustment" tool for unruly family members! LOL! There is a hole in the handle so this piece can be conveniently hung!
This mangle just spoke to me when I saw it as the patina could not be better and the primitive form is just so exciting because the display opportunities are splendid! You can place this inside an old wooden bucket for charming results filled with old Child's washboards or what about laying it in a large trencher as a focal point. Hung on the wall in your Laundry Room would also be another fabulous possibility. Sprinkled with folk art appeal, this cherished mangle board sends a romantic message from the heart captured long ago by a talented man for his sweetheart! It doesn't get any better than this!! Enjoy!
The board stands 21 1/4" Tall including the handle measurement, 16 3/4" without the handle measurement, almost 3 3/4" across the middle area on the bottom where the ribs are located, 1 3/4" thick, handle is about 1 1/2" across the middle area & tapers done to about 1 1/2" where it meets the board & is 4 1/4" Tall.
~Freight (Standard Mail) included, however Insurance is optional and can be purchased @ checkout ~ within the continental U.S.