Lately I've been pondering what I've learned from using 1930s and 1940s household tools and appliances. This isn't necessarily criticism or praise; these are just some observations. I would be curious to hear others' thoughts. I've noticed that these older appliances & tools need more supervision and more focus. I can't wander away distractedly or get involved in some other "ooh shiny" activity, as is my wont. For example, I burned a hole into my ironing board cover because I forgot that I had plugged in my old GE iron with its steamer attachment. It doesn't stand up the way a regular iron does -- it has to be set face down. When I came back to it, I had a big old scorch mark on the cover. So then I looked for a metal rest for the iron. I also try to remember to stay there and watch while it heats up. The metal rest has springs, which is a great innovation. The iron, its steamer attachment, and the metal rest are all approximately from the early forties. I have another old so-called "travel iron" that probably weighs 20 lobs., but is small enough, I imagine, to fit into a suitcase or a trunk. It produces an intense amount of heat. One really wonderful quality is that its weight and heat-producing capabilities let me iron table cloths, handkerchiefs, and shirt collars to a beautiful finish and shine. I simply cannot get that precise, perfect finish with a newer iron. It's extremely important, of course, to remember to unplug the iron before walking away. There is no automatic shut-off. Also: it must be tested on scraps very carefully, and the fabrics must be dampened before ironing. These super hot irons will scorch fabrics, even cotton and linens. Similarly, I have a sandwich press (30s / 40s) that becomes astonishingly hot very quickly. Makes great hot sandwiches & is also useful as a griddle. I found with this, and with all heat-producing appliances from the era, that I have to stand there and watch. I found that the only way to regulate the heat with most of these things is to unplug the piece. I have a few old flip toasters; people send them to me for some reason. All of them work very well. I have to remember to stand there and watch the toast. I'm still not quite competent at judging when the toast needs to be turned. I guess that's a skill you learn over time. Main advantage: these toasters will take almost any size bread; particularly bread I bake myself. I'm not great at obtaining very thin and regular slices when I slice my own home-baked bread, and these toasters work well with irregular or thicker slices. I have a lot of old fans (30s/40s) -- I love them for their ability to create strong breezes. I do have to use a lot of paper weights on my desk, though. Also, I've come a little too close to them once in a while & had my fingers bitten. I found a 1930s (non-functinal) fan with fabric "blades" that was evidently invented to keep children's little fingers safe. I wish I could have it fixed so that I could get a sense of how well it works. One thing that seems evident to me now is that our modern appliances have taught me to be less focused on what I'm doing. As a very absent-minded and scattered person, I do have problems with appliances that don't turn themselves off or have other modern safety features. I also think that if I had small children around the house, I would probably be much more hesitant to use these things. I have more to say about sewing machines, typewriters, and the like, but this'll do for now.