In Europe before the 16th century, creases were removed from clothing by smoothing with a cold stone or roller. As the idea of using heat to press clothing evolved so the iron was developed.
The flat iron was also known as the sad (meaning solid) iron. As the name suggests, these irons were made from solid cast iron. Flat irons were used in pairs so that whilst one was being used the other could be heated up. Then, as one iron started to cool it was switched for the other. The irons were placed face up in front of open fires on stands called trivets, or suspended from hangers over the fire.
The flat iron was the most popular type of iron in the 19th century and was mass-produced in great numbers. As can be seen from this iron, they were very simple to cast. Being solid iron, they are very heavy. Ironing was very hard work in the 19th century!