This old iron would have been what Gail’s mother, Ruth McGhee, used to press the family clothes in the early 1900s. Even when electric irons came into use, she didn’t get one for a long time. They didn’t get electricity as soon as people in the towns did.
In the oil camps in the Kansas Flint Hills, they were still using oil lamps in the 1920s. The company housing for the oil workers was too far out in the hills for luxuries like electricity.
Consequently Ruth ironed her clothes with heavy irons like this. They were heated on the surface of the wood cook stove and then pressed against the clothes to remove wrinkles. You would have one getting hot, while you used the other one.
You still see these around, but people tend to use them for bookends or for doorstops now. I sure wouldn’t want to iron with one.
Eventually the electric iron became available and simplified the ironing chores of housewives.