Friday, December 30, 2011

The Thor Gladiron Mangle

Oh, boy I got a little crazy this time.  I was shopping my local favorite thrift shop and low and behold this beauty was sitting in the corner.  It was an item I have long been curious about, an iron mangle.
The Mighty Ironrite
 Many times I have seen lovely ones like this Ironrite but space has always been a problem.  Now here was a little one that I could actually fit in my sewing space!  It came home right away.
She's So Cute! 
The Thor Gladiron is a bit less common and sophisticated than the bigger and more deluxe Ironrite but it does have it's charms.  The idea of using a roller iron is not gone, there are still mangles made today.  The Miele company has a nice one as seen Here. There is less demand of course as we just don't do so much household ironing.  Who irons bedsheets and tea towels?
Fabric on the Roller

Using this item has taken some practice.  Now, I am a dinosaur that actually does iron clothes and with sewing there is always a need for an iron.  Operating a Gladiron is almost completely different than what I am used to.  Thankfully, there is an instruction manual that shows how to iron every thing from dish cloths, shirts, bras and even underwear.  The main selling point is that you can iron a shirt in 4 minutes - but I have not been able to do it nearly so fast.....yet.  I am still trying to get used to using a spray bottle and two hands for handling the fabric without it pulling all crazy through the roller.  Practice practice practice. 

How it works: It works by just placing the fabric on the arm, plug it in and then the fabric feeds through.  Keep hands away from lava hot metal iron. 

Gladiron Temperature Gauge

It is a simple machine really.  There is a temperature control dial that can be adjusted with great sensitivity - moderate to very very hot.  Much variable heat than a typical iron.  Once it is plugged in the roller turns.  There is no on/off switch.  All controls are with a knee lever that has 3 positions.  It is a combination of those three position that make it stop, open or move again.
Three Position Knee Control
 Once you get a feel for it it's really easy.  There are side extensions to add to the work space but I have no room now - even for a picture, sorry.  They are stored underneath for the time being.
Gladiron Table Extensions
  The nice thing about this, other than it's utter coolness, is that is takes up as much space as a nightstand.  If you need to store it, the entire top can be folded downwards to fit inside frame sideways.  I broke the screw that holds it in place in transit, so no folding for the time being.
Now, it won't replace a regular iron and board but it does have some use.  I pre-wash a lot of  fabric and getting it pressed for cutting is a pain, particularly if there is 2 or more yards.  This baby makes short work of that job, and does well at high and low temperatures.  It's kind of fun to use too.
Here's a quick view if it in action. 


  1. That is sew cool! I also prewash fabrics, and this would be great to use for those large pieces.

  2. I, too, have a Thor Gladiron. I bought it about 13 years ago. It is wonderful. I noticed on your video that you used so it continuously fed the fabric through. I prefer when it closes to press, then opens and rachetts forward then closes and presses again. While it is slower, the results are excellent. Do you have the instruction manual?

  3. Oh yes, I do use it with the stop and start motion. I stop and start it frequently to make sure the fabric is feeding through strait or to move the pieces through or let them out. It does this with knee control with mine. I do have a manual. I can make a copy for you if you need it or get one online. I'll find the link and post it. The manual is quite interesting to read in addition to being helpful. Who knew you could iron bras and underwear on a mangle.

  4. This site has a manual by request, it's a large file. Very interesting too.

  5. Please could you help me with a bit of information. We found in the basement of our new Vintage house a Thor Canadian made in Toronto rotary iron that looks like yours. I can't find a year and can't plug it in because the plug wrong. But it is in great shape just a bit dusty. Where can I find more info on these, all I can find is ironrite. This doesn't say Gladiron or mangle anywhere. It does say Til Top Deluxe model 611. Thanks for your time. I hope I can find someone who might want it :)

    1. I am not much of an expert in this area, but do know that Thor made other things besides mangles. My Gladiron has no model number, so perhaps they made several of which you have one type. You never know who might like it. In my opinion for everyday it is not useful but for the times when I have to iron large amounts of fabric ( as a seamstress) it comes in handy.

    2. I have 2 gladiron irons for sale

    3. I have 2 gladiron irons for sale

  6. Very nice and helpful information has been given in this post. I like the way you explain the things. Keep posting. Thanks!
    Sewing Machines

  7. I am an addict when it comes to collecting certain things. I now have 3 Ironrite Mangle Presses! The first one I got was free and it came with the original chair. I went on that site Jitterbuzz when I brought it home. I got the manuels free. I replaced the electric cord, changed the oil and made a new roll cover. It works great.

  8. Nice machine, kind of weird but nice desing anyway