Roll Over, Dr. Freud!
This effectively targets both the Men (who would have had to pay for the thing back then) and the Women (who forsee a bit of added leisure). It sure sells the thing better than calling it a "mangle."
Etymology of the Dreaded "M" WordThe Oxford English Dictionary defines a "Mangle" as a device that uses rollers for pressing or extracting water from clothes. It gives the origin of the word as Dutch, mangelstok.
I believe that current usage feeds on a myth that people could do serious damage to their hands if they were caught in the rolls. Every modern ironer that I have seen has a foolproof mechanical disengagement device. When I got my ironrite, it was set to balk at four layers of denim. I suspect that folks who were suspicious of the machines (or jealous of their owners...) preferred the old word "Mangle" rather than "Ironer."
On the other hand, it appears that none other than Herman A. Sperlich used the dreaded "M" word in his 1928 patent for the original Iron Rite. This was probably before he got a Public Relations Department...
Mr. Sperlich's 1928 Patent No. 1,670,387
The Dreaded "M" Word as Sanctioned by Uncle Sam, Himself!
Found this image in the Ironrite manuals that came with the mangle I bought last week. Not at all sexist, mind you. Here's what one ironing machine enthusiast has to say about her: