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It might be a housewife's fantasy or a trendy bachelor's dream: a machine that will dry and iron your clothes was unveiled in Madrid, raising the prospect that the hated household chore could become a thing of the past.

Ironing is an obsession in Spain, where housewives traditionally press every bit of fabric, including bedsheets, socks and underwear.

Jeans in Spain bear a tell-tale white crease down the middle. But Spanish women have entered the workforce en masse over the past three decades, leaving people little time to indulge their passion for wrinkle-free attire.

That was the inspiration for the "Driron", made by the Basque manufacturer Fagor. It looks like a 1.8m fridgefreezer. The clothes are slotted in sideways on hangers like a wardrobe.

Shirts and T-shirts are weighed down with what looks like a giant hairclip. After whirring away for two hours, the clothes are dry and remarkably wrinkle-free.

But liberation from ironing does not come cheaply. The company will sell the white version of its machine for £1,070 and a trendy brushed steel version will cost £1,800. Despite the price, Fagor hopes to sell 40,000 in the next three years.

"We think there are a lot of double-income families out there with little time to spare," said Jos© Gayt??n de Ayala, the managing director of the company. "Also, we think this will be attractive to young people, many of whom have done little or no ironing in their lives."

The company also expects to sell a good number of the units in Britain"”which, it says, is the largest market for clothes dryers"”and Germany and France.

Washing machines are often credited with revolutionising society after their mass adoption in the 1950s and 60s. But ironing has remained stubbornly resistant to mechanisation.

Even in the internet age, homeowners must risk their limbs to set up the ironing board, struggle to iron-out creases rather than iron them in and resist burning a hole in the power cord and/or garment. Unsurprisingly, ironing consistently tops the list of most hated household tasks.

In 2004 the German electronics group Siemens introduced a machine that could press shirts in seconds. At a cost of about £900, the "Dressman" works by inflating inside shirts to get rid of wrinkles.

From The Times Of India

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