Since the 1970s there has been an international gathering of iron collectors every three years. In 2015 this Congress was held for the first time in the United States! A committee of seventeen iron collectors organized the events.
The Congress had it all and everyone was entertained from start to finish. It was held in the beautiful and modern Conservatory at the New Jersey State Fairgrounds, just 10 minutes from the host Holiday Inn Express hotel in Newton. Free shuttle bus service to and from the hotel and Conservatory was available. In addition, a printed guide to the local antique shops was provided.
TOURS: Thursday & Friday were tours of four major iron collections: the collections of Jerry & Jeannie Marcus, Buck & Marty Carson, Michael Pagano and David & Sue Irons. Bus service, two lunches and one dinner was included with registration for these tours. (No personal travel to collections was permitted.)
CONGRESS: The Congress opened on Friday evening with a reception followed by a banquet dinner, welcome ceremony and presentation.
Saturday brought more presentations, displays and great food. On Saturday night, we put on our denim clothes and cowboy boots and were transported to a nearby historic lakeside hotel built in 1936. After snacks and drinks by the lake, a barbecue dinner was served, followed by square dancing .
Sunday morning brought the opportunity to Buy and Sell followed by a delicious buffet luncheon. The Congress concluded at 2 PM and was followed by the annual PITCA business meeting.
IMAGES: A large number of photographs were taken and photo albums with an overview of the different events have been created for your viewing pleasure.
The first two days were filled with tours of four major iron collections. The first day half of the attendees visited the Marcus and Carson collections, with the other half of the attendees visiting the Pagano and Irons collections. On the second day each group switched venues. Each collection has its own personality.
* The David & Sue Irons collection is laden with great irons, displayed in the context of a historic home filled with American country antiques. They have been in the antiques business for over 50 years and Dave Irons Antiques (next door) specializes in primitives, country furniture, tramp art and quilts.
* The Michael Pagano iron collection spreads throughout most of the house, interspersed with stupendous displays of laundry-related collections. It is an immersion in collecting, with many inventive means of display.
* The Jerry & Jeannie Marcus collection dominates all living areas and fills a basement room to the brim. There is every category of iron and go-with, with what must be the world's largest collection of laundry sprinklers. Highlights are the many paintings that show ironing or laundry activity, the Meissen porcelain figures and a wonderfully eclectic collection of electric irons.
* The Buck & Marty Carson collection is housed in a purpose built barn with elegant decor, lighting and display fixtures. The collection of about 3,500 pieces features every great American iron there is, along with more European irons than one can count. The mangle board collection is unparalleled among private collections.
The two days of visiting collections satisfied everyone's appetite for irons and provided plenty of time to socialize and get to know each other, a perfect prelude to the main event.