The “Box of Misfits”

As you might have figured out by now, I have a thing for metal. Metal as in music as well as ancient cast iron. I have several alerts running on ebay and favorite sellers, notifyfing me every time something potentially interesting shows up.

I only grab about 5% of what I find though. While I really REALLY love to give a new home and a new life to ancient cast iron, I also strive for variety and hunt for all things scarce and scattered. I’m looking for stuff I don’t already have as long as I can get it for a reasonable price and there’s a good chance I can get the item back into working order.

I’m not running a museum, I’m running a kitchen where those ancient cast iron treasures have to work if they want to stay. Which means that most of those 200+ years old waffle irons with beautiful, intricate patterns are not for me. I DO have two of those, the oldest from 1811, and they’re my pride and joy, but I’m always a bit nervous when I use them.

Today I’d like to show you my Box of Misfits, the irons I’ve acquired over the last year or so, but not yet integrated into my household. They’re all in great shape, just in need of some TLC (and in some cases an easily assembled spare part), so they can be chained to the hearth warmed by the hearth once more.

Without further ado, let’s unpack:

Rectangular waffle iron from a flea market somewhere here in Germany. The oven ring/stand that makes it easy to flip is missing, but I can use something else. Makes 1 waffle 9,5 x 16,5 cm, 2 cm thick

A round iron I found in France a while ago. It has a pattern I hadn’t seen before. This one needs a lot of work before it can make a waffle that’s 16cm in diameter and 2cm thick.
Ring/stand is missing.

This one’s from Belgium. It makes 2 very thick (3cm) waffles, 9×11 cm each. The edges are higher than the middle part which makes those waffles perfect for piling on lots of toppings.
The iron definitely needs some work before I can enjoy one of those waffle piles. The ring/stand is also missing.

A German iron for cinnamon wafers, makes 3 cookies sized 9×5,5 cm at once. The hinge is broken and needs some creative wiring to be working properly again, but I got it nearly for free.

An old pizzelle iron I found on ebay. It makes 2 wafers 8cm in diameter or 8x10cm if you want to use all the space. Looks kinda bad, but most of that brownish stuff is actually dirt.

A small iron for belgian waffles. The ring/stand is missing, and I actually have to somehow fabricate/imitate a new one since the iron has no handles for flipping. Those waffles have the perfect size for my toaster (12,5x10cm, 2,5 cm thick), so I really need to figure something out 🙂

This isn’t your usual, ancient waffle iron – it’s a cast iron and therefore fully functioning toy. In the early 1900s, tiny but real stoves for kids were a thing, and they came with lots of optional extras like waffle irons, pots and pans, clothing irons, baking pans, etc. It was a lucky find for little money, vintage toys usually reach way higher selling prices.
Makes one 8cm wafer/cookie. Perfect to pimp your ice cream sundae or to make stroopwafels.
It needs new grips on the handles (got them already) and a thorough cleaning, but mostly from the outside. Can’t wait to get this one going.

So, that’s what’s in the misfits box at the moment. The missing rings/stands can easily be compensated for with my adjustable kebab holder for the bbq. Except for the small belgian iron, but I’m sure I’ll figure something out.
My next projects are most likely the toy waffle iron and the round french one. I’ll keep you posted on the progress.

4 responses to “The “Box of Misfits””

  1. Love your box of misfits! I am curious if there is any meaning behind each of the various designs. Perhaps regional or societal differences.

    Liked by 1 person

    • before they were mass produced from cast iron, the waffle/wafer irons were made from wrought iron and every design was different. blacksmiths made them with pride and many depicted holy elements because they were used to make wafers for church, featuring coats of arms of rich families (they had their own chapel) or guild signs. Later, the wafers weren’t only for church, but baked as a sweet treat. With the cast iron ones, the most common design here is a flower made up of 5 hearts, but there are also more intricate ones like the one on the front of my blog leading to the cast iron section. That’s a wedding iron, special waffles for special occasions. Other than that, the kind of dough baked in the iron determines the form you use. Deep grooves (belgian style iron) for yeast based doughs, flatter design for cake like doughs, a wafer iron for cookies or very liquid dough that can be rolled up while it’s still hot.


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