Iron Collectors


Iron Museum

Hans Dresel

The Iron Collector

I do not believe that hobbies are planned, they just happen or develop over time. In my case it has been the latter. In 1974 I was posted for my first overseas assignment in Hong Kong. Although I had travelled the Far East for the previous four years, it was quite different to live there (shop and pay taxes!) I have always had an interest in antiques and on one of the first Sundays I strolled through Hollywood Road, the then Mecca of antiques in Hong Kong. It was a different world, a world I had never seen before. It was an older part of this bustling city with dozens of antique shops offering items from a bygone era of which I did not know much about. 

Fascinating to say the least! Then I saw a charcoal iron with a chimney – remember I was not a collector of irons then. I had never seen a piece like this and inside the iron it was marked with “Hong Kong”. When I got home, I cleaned it up and repaired it, something I learned later one does not do, but I did it!

After nine years in Hong Kong, I returned to Basel (Switzerland) and worked there at head office. My 14 irons I had collected during my time in Hong Kong were forgotten and I had other, more important, things to do. However, in 1987 I was off for another posting. This time it was New Zealand. All of a sudden, my “hunger” for antiques was rekindled. In those days there were quite a number of antique shops in certain parts of Auckland and during weekends I wanted to find out what kind of irons were used there. During this venture I made a number of friends e.g., antique dealers, iron collectors to name a few.