Every hotel room in the world appears to have one, at least all those I´ve visited do. They´re mounted on the wall, always just at the edge of your vision, slightly anonymous, yet also mysterious. An odd-looking device, somewhat technological, but also a little furniture-like. The mystery is compounded by the fact that there is never any real indication of it´s purpose, or how to use it, though once you look at it, you realise it is simplicity itself. I´m thinking about the trouser-press.
Although I´d occasionally been intrigued, I´d managed to avoid using a trouser press. Though normally technologically curious and not afraid to experiment with new devices, there was something about the trouser press that made me keep my distance. The province of the travelling salesman with a need to freshen the creases in his cheap suit of man made fabric? The fact that is seemed a bit too grown-up for me? Or that putting creases in your trousers just seems a bit off?
This all changed the day I found a Corby 5500 Classic at a local jumble sale. Sleek, teak and meek (ok, upright, really, but meek sounded better) it stood there, amidst an ocean of rubbish and tat. What a strange thing to find! Do people even buy them to use at home? I have no idea, but I had to have it, and it was mine for the princely sum of 8 pounds. Excellent! Though, I realised, now I had to find out how to use it.
And I did. And it really isn´t that difficult! There are 2 controls. One timer to set the heat on and one lever to open and close (two really, as the levers apply force on both sides to ensure even application of pressure). Hardly a challenge for an engineer really. Hah!
The only really tricky part is getting the trousers to lie nice and flat inside the press before closing it. I have very few trousers that have a crease front and back. Possibly only a single pair, and I just remembered that I don´t even have them any longer. What I like to do is to lay the trousers flat, as I´d iron them. I do occasionally iron chinos, as they get washed more often than my other trousers, while denim and wool trousers tend to rest between use. As I´m a careful wearer I rarely get my trousers dirty and can enjoy clothes that don´t need washing too often, which keeps them nice much longer. That resting though, folded thrice, in a stack, that sure does crease them. Not hard creases, but enough to make it noticeable. Iron them? Nope, too much work. This is where the trouser press earns it´s keep. It takes a minute to place the trousers in it, and then 45 minutes later they are crispy, fresh and creaseless. Jeans, corduroy or tweed, it works for all of them.
A ceaseless remover of creases, to coin a new slogan for Corby of Windsor, manufacturers of trouser presses to royalty and tired businessmen since 1930. So, even though the trouser press may not be the most glamorous of gentleman´s accessories, and a victim of screwdriver-wielding pranksters, it is actually a genuinely decent device, and I strongly recommend you keep an eye out for one. Or accidentally acquire one when next staying in a hotel. Most likely it will hardly have been used.
Mine was relegated to the washing room in the basement by my otherwise cherubical WellDressedGirlfriend. Little does she know that with a special bracket from Corby, my freestanding Classic can be wall mounted, and will enjoy a prime location in our bedroom again soon.