This African American woman obtained patent for an improved ironing board on this day in 1892

Dressmaker Sarah Boone made her name by inventing an improved ironing board that made it easier to press sleeves without introducing unwanted creases.

She acquired the patent rights on this day in 1892.

In her patent application, she wrote, as quoted by, that the purpose of her invention was “to produce a cheap, simple, convenient and highly effective device, particularly adapted to be used in ironing the sleeves and bodies of ladies’ garments.”

Sarah Boone’s invention —
Boone’s board was very narrow and curved, and this was the right size and fit of a sleeve common in ladies’ clothes during that period. It was reversible and hence made it easier to iron both sides of a sleeve. The African-American woman noted at the time that her board could also be produced flat rather than curved, which is ideal for the cut of the sleeves of men’s’ coats.

Before Boone’s ironing board, ironing was done with irons heated on the stove or fire, using a table that was covered with a thick cloth. Others simply made use of the kitchen table, or prop a board on two chairs.

Born in 1832 in Craven County, North Carolina, Sarah Boone married a brick mason, James Boone when she was 15. They had eight children. She lived in New Haven for the rest of her life before passing away in 1904. After receiving the patent rights for her invention in 1892, her ironing board made it easy for people to press sleeves.

This article by Ismail Akwei was first published on

Published by Ismail Akwei

Ismail Akwei is an international journalist, digital media and communications professional, editor, writer, arts, culture and tourism advocate, human rights activist, pan-Africanist, tech enthusiast and history buff. He has worked with multinational media companies across Africa and has over a decade’s experience in journalism.

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